Legend has it that in 1531, the Virgin appeared to the Indian Juan Diego and asked him to visit Bishop Juan de Zumárraga so he could build her a chapel at the hill of Tepeyac, north of Mexico City. At first, the bishop refused to believe Juan Diego, until he unfolded his cloak filled with extraordinary flowers, revealing the miraculously imprinted image of the Virgin. Although the cult of the Virgin of Guadalupe goes back to the second half of the sixteenth century, her tradition was fixed a century later. In this version by Antonio de Torres, one of the best painters of the early eighteenth century in Mexico, the Virgin is depicted surrounded by four roundels illustrating her various apparitions to Juan Diego. The larger roundel at her feet depicts her new sanctuary (completed in 1709) at the hill of Tepeyac.
From exhibition Archive of the World, 2022 (for more information see the catalogue entry by JoAnna M. Reyes in the accompanying publication, cat. no. 9, pp. 61–64)
- Katzew, Ilona, ed. Archive of the World: Art and Imagination in Spanish America, 1500–1800: Highlights from LACMA’s Collection. Exh. Cat. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art; New York: DelMonico Books/D.A.P., 2022.
Ilona Katzew, “New Acquisition: Antonio de Torres, Virgin of Guadalupe,” Unframed, May 1, 2014, https://unframed.lacma.org/2014/05/01/new-acquisition-antonio-de-torres-virgin-of-guadalupe.