Long before the Spanish arrived in South America, the native Inca worshipped divinities at sacred sites. The Spanish brought Catholicism, and with it devotion to the Virgin Mary. The Church condoned the appearance of the apparition of the Virgin at ancient sacred places, such as Cocharcas, as part of its strategy of conversion.
This painting represents a pilgrimage to the Virgin of Cocharcas. Figures in both native and Spanish dress teem around the statue, which is under a canopy like the parasol carried over the head of Inca royalty. Both the place and the treatment of the human form express the continuity of religious devotion during a dramatic convergence of cultures.