Superb Copy, with an Exceptionally Beautiful Engraving of the Virgin of Guadalupe

“Fair warning to all skeptics, Catholics, or agnostics”

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571. [VIRGIN OF GUADALUPE]. GURIDI Y ALCOCER, José Miguel. Apología de la aparicion de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Méjico, en respuesta a la disertacion que la impugna. Su autor El Dr. D. José Miguel Guiridi Alcocer, Cura del Sagrario de la Catedral de dicha ciudad. Mexico: En la oficina de Don Alejandro Valdes, calle de Santo Domingo, 1820. [10], [1] 2-201 [9] pp., copper-engraved plate: N.S. de Guadalupe de Mexico [below border] | M. Araoz la gra. en Mo. | Año 1814 (Virgin of Guadalupe in embellished frame border at the top of which is a crown and the arms of Spain and Mexico City; within the frame is a draped cloth with the image of the Virgin whose hands are folded in prayer; below is a winged cherub and roses, plate mark: 19.5 x 12 cm; image including ornamentation at top and text below: 18.8 x 9.6 cm). 4to (21.4 x 15.2 cm), contemporary full tan and green Mexican tree sheep, elaborately stamped and triple rolled in gilt, title stamped in gilt on upper and lower covers within gilt oval-shaped floral border, edges rolled in gilt, spine gilt stamped with crowns in compartments, inner gilt dentelles, pale blue silk moiré endpapers applied to marbled paper in yellow, red, blue, green, and black, all edges sprinkled in red, rose silk book mark. Other than a few spots on title, very fine, engraving pristine. A superbly executed Mexican binding in an excellent state of preservation. It is doubtful one could find a more desirable copy of this book. Rarely found with the plate.

     First edition. Garritz, Impresos Novohispanos, 1808-1821 #3593. Grajales & Burrus, Bibliografía Guadalupana (1531-1984) 328. Medina, México 11897 (attributing the engraving to Montes de Oca). Palau 111216. Sabin 29289. “The Virgin of Guadalupe offers one of history’s outstanding examples of the fusion of religious devotion and national identity” (Stafford Poole in the prologue to Mathes, Bibliotheca Novohispana Guadalupana), and the present work is one of the more interesting on the subject.

     In 1794 Spanish historian Juan Bautista Muñoz published a Memoria in Madrid attacking the validity of the apparition of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Naturally this caused great consternation in Mexico, but the strongest responses came late in the Mexican Wars for Independence—when the Virgin of Guadalupe became a powerful symbol of national unity. Thus, in 1820, defending the Virgin of Guadalupe against a Spanish historian’s assault took on an entirely different dimension.

     Author José Miguel Guridi y Alcocer (1763-1828), an important Mexican ecclesiastic, one of the two deputies sent by Mexico to the Cádiz Cortés of 1810, and a signer of the Mexican Declaration of Independence in 1821, here republishes in its entirety Muñoz’s attack and then devotes almost 180 pages to rebutting it. “The vigour and confidence with which Guridi conducted his defense of the apparitions gave fair warning to all skeptics, Catholics, or agnostics, that the Mexican clergy were not prepared to abandon their cherished beliefs, no matter how daunting the critical onslaught might appear to be” (D.A. Brading, Mexican Phoenix: Our Lady of Guadalupe, Cambridge University Press, 2001, p. 220). See also, W. H. Timmons, “Los Guadalupes: A Secret Society in the Mexican Revolution for Independence” in Hispanic American Historical Review, Vol. 30, No. 4 (November 1950), pp. 453-479; and Francis Borgia Steck, “Literary Contributions of Catholics in Nineteenth-Century Mexico” in The Americas, Vol. I, No. 2 (October, 1944), p. 191.

     In technique and beauty this copper-engraved plate of the Virgin of Guadalupe is among the finest ever done. Engraver Manuel de Aráoz, in addition to illustrating several books, later was director of the faculty of painting and sub-director of engraving in the Academy of San Carlos (1831-1833). Mathes (Bibliotheca Novohispana Guadalupana) lists the engraving in the register for 1820 and illustrates it at p. 138 (Plate EE). Romero de Terreros, Grabados y grabadores en la Nueva España, p. 471.


Sold. Hammer: $1,500.00; Price Realized: $1,837.50.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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