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A portrait of a nun who wanted to study

 Ritratto di una suora che volle studiare  DCM-007
02 July 2022

The artwork on the cover is a detail of the first portrait of Juana Inés de la Cruz, a nun at the order of St Jerome, who was a poet, scholar, thinker and much more in 17th century Mexico. The painting is from circa 1750 by Miguel Cabrera (1695-1768), the best-known painter of the time (see article on page 18).   Juana Inés de la Cruz, a mestizo, was born in Oaxaca and later moved to Mexico City, the capital of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. She created religious and secular art for the Catholic Church and wealthy patrons. Her caste paintings, depicting interracial marriages between Amerindians, Spaniards and Africans, are considered among the best of the genre.  In 1756, she produced an important analytical study of the icon of the Virgin of Guadalupe. A group of six painters have analyzed the painting with scientific, not religious eyes, and identified four different substances used in the painting. Their findings show that “Oil, tempera with agglutinates, an aguazo, and a fresco-like tempera” were used. According to Cabrera, no painter was capable of using such techniques in the 18th century, let alone in the 16th century, when the Virgin Mary appeared to the peasant Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin on the hillock of Tepeyac. (WCW)