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Doña Josefa de la Cotera y Calvo de la Puerta, Marquesa of Rivas Cacho


European Art

To explain and legitimize their place within the imperial system, the Spanish American moneyed elite displayed titles and coats of arms in portraits as proud markers of rank. Here, Mexico City’s Creole marquesa of Rivas Cacho, adorned with diamond and pearl earrings, appears beside her family’s coat of arms.

The more understated dress of Mrs. Robert Nicholls Auchmuty, painted in the same year by Gilbert Stuart, reflects the relative restraint of the former British American colonies, where noble titles did not exist. Both ladies wear their era’s fashionable high Empire-waist dresses, Mrs. Auchmuty’s of formal black silk taffeta and Doña Josefa’s of equally expensive but less elaborate embroidered white cotton muslin.

Para explicar y legitimar su lugar en el sistema imperial, la rica élite hispanoamericana exhibía orgullosamente títulos y escudos de armas en retratos como indicadores de rango. Aquí, la marquesa de Rivas Cacho, de la Ciudad de México, adornada con diamantes y aretes de perlas, aparece junto al escudo de armas de su familia.

El vestido un poco más recatado de la Sra. de Robert Nicholls Auchmuty, pintado el mismo año por Gilbert Stuart, refleja la relativa modestia de las ex-colonias británicoamericanas, donde los títulos nobiliarios no existían. Ambas damas llevan vestidos de estilo imperio de cintura alta a la moda de su tiempo, el de la Sra. Auchmuty formal de tafetán de seda negra y el de doña Josefa de muselina de algodón blanco, igual de costoso pero menos elaborado.

ARTIST Mexican
MEDIUM Oil on canvas
  • Place Made: Mexico
  • DATES 1816
    DIMENSIONS 33 x 25 1/2 in. (83.8 x 64.8 cm) frame: 38 x 31 x 2 in. (96.5 x 78.7 x 5.1 cm)  (show scale)
    INSCRIPTIONS Inscribed lower left: "La Sra. Da. Josepha de la Cotera/y Calvo de la Puerta, Marquesa/de Rivasacho./Año de 1816."
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CREDIT LINE Museum Collection Fund and Dick S. Ramsay Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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    CAPTION Mexican. Doña Josefa de la Cotera y Calvo de la Puerta, Marquesa of Rivas Cacho, 1816. Oil on canvas, 33 x 25 1/2 in. (83.8 x 64.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Collection Fund and Dick S. Ramsay Fund, 52.166.5 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 52.166.5_PS4.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 52.166.5_PS4.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2013
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Dona Josefa de la Cotera y Calvo de la Puerta, Marguesa del Rivescacho (dates unknown). An oil painting by an unknown artist dated 1816 in which she is shown as an older woman. Her hair is white and worn in a braided knot in the back of her head. Although her dates are unknown it is known that she was married in 1782. She wears a white dress and a blue shawl that has embroidery around the edges and a gold fringe. She has elaborate earrings on, and rings on both hands on the fourth and fifth fingers. She is shown three-quarter length and view facing to the left side of the picture.
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