From Spain to New Spain
The chapters here examine the rise of the cults of the lactating Madonna, St. Anne, St. Librada, St. Mary Magdalene, and the Suffering Virgin. Concerned with holy figures presented as feminine archetypes—images that came under Inquisition scrutiny—as well as with cults suspected of concealing Indigenous influences, Charlene Villaseñor Black argues that these images would come to reflect the empowerment and agency of women in viceregal Mexico. Her close analysis of the imagery additionally demonstrates artists' innovative responses to Inquisition censorship and the new artistic demands occasioned by conversion.
The concerns that motivated the twenty-first century protests against Chicana artists Yolanda López in 2001 and Alma López in 2003 have a long history in the Hispanic world, in the form of anxieties about the humanization of sacred female bodies and fears of Indigenous influences infiltrating Catholicism. In this context Black also examines a number of important artists in depth, including El Greco, Murillo, Jusepe de Ribera, Pedro de Mena, Baltasar de Echave Ibía, Juan Correa, Cristóbal de Villalpando, and Miguel Cabrera.
Chapter 1: St. Anne, Art, and Conversion
Chapter 2: The Madonna, between Mother and Queen
Chapter 3: The Suffering Mother
Chapter 4: Rebellious Daughters
Chapter 5: Mary Magdalene and the Erotics of Devotion
"Black's analysis of the artistic transformations of similar subject matter in New Spain shed light on the global circulation of early modern Spanish art while acknowledging the cultural singularity of New Spain. . . . The reader never loses sight of the book's purpose."
—James M. Córdova, author of The Art of Professing in Bourbon Mexico: Crowned-Nun Portraits and Reform in the Convent