Andrés de Islas (active mid to late 18th century)
La Virgen de Guadalupe
signed and dated 'Andrés ab Islas pinxit 1776' (lower left) inscribed 'Tocada a su Sagrado Original el Año de 1776 DC' (along the lower edge)
oil on copper
1118 x 812 in. (28.3 x 21.6 cm.)
Painted in 1776.
Private collection, Milan.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Brought to you by

Lot Essay

Andrés de Islas was active in Mexico in the mid-to-late eighteenth century. Extant works by the artist demonstrate a wide range of subjects including portraits of the Bishop Juan de Palafox y Mendoza and religious subjects, as well as castas, denoting his popularity in local artistic production. In 1773, Islas painted an altarpiece of Saint John the Evangelist for the chapel of Aranzazu. In the Archivo General de la Nación in Mexico, there are documents confirming that in 1770 Islas designed the garments for the Lanceros de Veracruz, soldiers that served in the frontier garrisons in the north of New Spain (M. Toussaint, 1982).
The present work by Islas is a small scale work, likely for private devotion, and depicts the Virgin Mary as a sweet-faced, pious young woman with golden rays emanating from her silhouette. A crown upon her head denotes her as Queen of the Heavens. Here, the Virgin appears like a tender mother figure, drawing parallels to the Aztec goddess of fertility and the earth, Tonantzin. Indeed, Tepayac Hill, what became the site of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, was an important Aztec place of worship for this “sacred mother.” The legend of La Guadalupana and her miraculous appearance to the local native Juan de Diego provided a tangible link between New Spain’s colonial present and the region’s ancient cultural heritage—thus confirming Spain’s “divinely-ordained” mission in the Americas.
By the late-18th century, when this work was painted, La Guadalupana had become ubiquitous throughout Nueva España as a miracle-producing image. Moreover, her image served as a potent symbol of mestizaje, or the complex mixing of cultures and races, that came to define the New World. Today, the image of Virgin of Guadalupe far surpasses her religious significance and has become intrinsically linked to notions of Mexican national identity.

Related Articles

Sorry, we are unable to display this content. Please check your connection.

More from
Latin American Art Online
Place your bid Condition report

A Christie's specialist may contact you to discuss this lot or to notify you if the condition changes prior to the sale.

I confirm that I have read this Important Notice regarding Condition Reports and agree to its terms. View Condition Report