Angel Carrying a Cypress (Ángel portando un ciprés)

* Nearly 20,000 images of artworks the museum believes to be in the public domain are available to download on this site. Other images may be protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights. By using any of these images you agree to LACMA's Terms of Use.

Angel Carrying a Cypress (Ángel portando un ciprés)

Mexico, circa 1680-1690
Paintings
Oil on canvas
Unframed: 63 × 42 1/2 × 1 in. (160 × 107.95 × 2.54 cm) Framed: 69 1/2 × 49 × 3 1/2 in. (176.53 × 124.46 × 8.89 cm)
Purchased with funds provided by the Bernard and Edith Lewin Collection of Mexican Art Deaccession Fund (M.2013.129)
Not currently on public view

Curator Notes

Along with Cristóbal de Villalpando (c. 1649–1714), Juan Correa is considered the leading painter of the late seventeenth century in Mexico....
Along with Cristóbal de Villalpando (c. 1649–1714), Juan Correa is considered the leading painter of the late seventeenth century in Mexico. The son of a famous Spanish surgeon and a freed black woman, Correa was one of the few mulatto painters who achieved fame despite his racially mixed background. (The art of painting was generally considered the purview of white or Spanish masters.) His two mural-sized canvases for the sacristy of the cathedral of Mexico City (1691–98), for example, are regarded as masterpieces of the Mexican baroque.

This painting depicts an angel standing in a golden cloud and carrying a cypress, a symbol associated with the purity of the Virgin Mary; it probably formed part of a lost altarpiece devoted to the Immaculate Conception. Stylistically, the picture is characteristic of Correa’s work from the period between 1670 and 1690 in terms of its vibrant palette, elegant composition, and overall emphasis on decorative details (e.g., the diaphanous veils and cabochons of the angel’s attire). The figures’ proportions, with prominent muscular white arms, are also typical of Correa’s works of this period, as are the finely detailed hands, with elongated fingers. Another element that is characteristic of Correa’s style is the impressionistic detailing of the cypress’s foliage, painted by pressing the tip of the brush against the canvas and then quickly dragging it down. Correa was a master at creating subtle color gradations and providing a sense of iridescence, contributing to the overall mystical effect of the composition, seen here in the wings and the fabric of the angel’s boots.

Ilona Katzew, Curator and Department Head, Latin American Art
More...