Virgin of Guadalupe on Yellow Silk 1740

Saviour from matlazáhuatl

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573. [VIRGIN OF GUADALUPE]. PALOMINO, Juan Bernabé (engraver).Rto. de Sta. María Virgen de Guadalupe Patrona principal de Nueva España. Jurada en Mexico en 27. de | Abril año de la Epidemia, de 1737. | Apareciose la Virgen al felíz Indio Juan Diego, â la falda de un monte, y le embío al Obispado pare que allí se la edificase con Templo, y piddo. | esta señas, brotó flores el monte pr. Diciembre del año de 1531 y puestas por Sra. en el manto del Indio, quedo en el estampada esta Santa Imagn. | Ia. á Palomino sculpt. Regs. Mt. incidit á 1740. [Madrid], 1740. Copper-engraved plate printed on yellow silk (Virgin of Guadalupe, scenes showing her first four apparitions, and other religious symbols). Image dimensions: 39.2 x 26.7 cm.; overall sheet size: 44.5 x 34.5 cm). Creased where formerly folded (some moderate losses to image at folds), faded, some light stains. Truly a rare survival in any condition.

     This engraving is a tribute to the Virgin’s intercession during the devastating 1736-1737 outbreak of matlazáhuatl (a type of typhoid fever), which killed nearly 200,000 Mexicans. The outbreak was so bad that regular blessed gravesites in churches became filled and hundreds of the poor were cremated daily at San Lázaro. In 1737, the city of Mexico proclaimed the Virgin of Guadalupe the city’s patron, partly in response to this epidemic. The epidemic produced a flood of writings on issues both medical and religious to explain the event and the cure for it. Since the art of medicine seemed ineffective, people turned to religion, a manifestation of which is this handsome engraving. The most famous book to appear from this era is Cabrera y Quintero’s 1746 Escudo de armas de México (see Item herein), the frontispiece of which shows Mexico City pleading with the Virgin for assistance. (See lot 548 herein.)

     This engraving on silk is among of the more unusual Guadalupana artifacts we have seen. Mathes, Bibliotheca Novohispana Guadalupe, p. 111. Mathes discusses the artist in La Ilustración en México colonial: “Córdoba...produced an engraver who would revolutionize the art throughout Spain, Juan Bernabé Palomino (1692-1777). Initiating his career in Córdoba in 1718 with the reproduction of masterworks, Palomino became widely respected for his own work.... In 1744, Felipe V ordered planning and preparation for the creation of a royal academy of fine arts, and in 1751 Fernando VI decreed foundation of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid for the promotion of painting, sculpture, and, after three centuries of consideration as a mere form of artisanry, engraving. Upon inauguration of the academy on 12 April 1752, Palomino was appointed director of engraving and royal engraver.... The creation of the academy with formal instruction and workshops, along with the removal of substantial taxes and restrictions on printed matter, and, on 6 January 1764 the termination of the monopoly on production of liturgical literature held by the monastery of El Escorial, quickly brought Spanish printing and engraving from a state of maintenance to one of dynamic development and the highest levels of the art.” ($1,500-3,000)

Sold. Hammer: $4,200.00; Price Realized: $5,145.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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