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Lecture | Online Museum Talks

Online Museum Talk: The Virgin, the Eagle and the Cactus: (Re)tracing the Origins of a Criollo Nationalist Symbol in Colonial Mexico

  • Raphaele Preisinger
Thursday 12 November 2020
Museum Talks at the Leiden Department of Art History

Raphaele Preisinger

The Department of Art History Leiden cordially invites you to the Online Museum Talk of Raphaele Preisinger, University of Bern, Switzerland

The Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico City, which has been venerated since the 16th century, became a symbol of creole nationalist aspirations from mid-17th century on. The strongest visual expression of the Virgin of Guadalupe as an explicitly American phenomenon is to be found in an iconography which juxtaposes her to the foundational glyph of Aztec Tenochtitlán, an eagle with a serpent standing on a nopal cactus. Hitherto, this iconography has been linked to Miguel Sánchez’ first published account of the Virgin of Guadalupe’s apparition legend from 1648, which considers the Virgin’s appearance to the indigenous Mexican Juan Diego a ‘transfiguration’ of the Apocalyptic Woman ‘seen’ by St. John on Patmos. This talk points to new directions of research that aim at tracing even earlier origins for this merging of visual elements and seek to understand the motifs behind it.


Please register via this link. You will then receive the link to join the online lecture on November 12.

Image on the frontispiece of Miguel Sánchez’ Imagen de la Virgen Maria, Madre de Dios de Guadalupe (…). Mexico City, 1648. Original in the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University
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