Do you have any information about this frame? I’m quite curious as to who made it.
Unfortunately, we do not know the name of the craftsman who produced the frame. It is very beautiful.
The arrows in the quiver are almost certainly an allusion to cupid's bow and love, as this portrait was commissioned on the occasion of the sitter's marriage!
It is really gorgeous! Thank you so much for all of your help.
Can you tell me more about her?
Doña María de los Dolores Gutiérrez del Mazo y Pérez, painted here by José Campeche, was born in Spain but moved to Puerto Rico, then a Spanish colony, when she was 15 years old.
At 21 she was married to Don Benito Pérez, and this painting was created to commemorate the occasion. The letters on her desk say the names of both her and her husband, who would later become viceroy of New Granada.
New Granada, at the time, was a large territory that included parts of modern Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, Guyana, Panama, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela.
What can you tell me about the painter?
The painter was known as the most gifted and prized portraitist in Puerto Rico at the time. He is known for painting images of the wealthy in their homes especially in San Juan. Campeche was mostly self taught, but also learned from Luis Paret y Alcázar, a Spanish court painter who was exiled to Puerto Rico in the late 1770s.
Are their other works by this artist (Campeche) or other Caribbean artists?
This is our only work on view by Campeche, but Camille Pissarro whose work you can find in Infinite Blue, is from St. Thomas and is of Portuguese descent.
What! Il est français.
Oui, mais il est né en St. Thomas. We also have a number of ancient Caribbean works in the Life, Death, and Transformation on the fifth floor.
What was a typical compensation like for an artist such as Campeche? Or is it another example of an artist who's work was not valuable until after death?
These were commissioned works so they were certainly valued by the person they were meant for and served as status symbols in the home. We are appreciating it on a different level in this museum context, as both evidence of the artist's skill but also a kind of historical record. As for the kind of compensation Campeche received, we don't have a record of even an approximate amount but it would have been something only elite members of society could afford.
Would an artist like that be considered wealthy while at that time?
That's a great question. He would have definitely been comfortable but not nearly as rich as the people he was paintng.
May I ask why this picture is in the European Art gallery? I only ask because the label says the artist is Puerto Rican.
This painting is included in our European Art gallery because it was created within a purely European painting tradition. The sitter was even born in Europe and wished to be painted as a European.
Art of the colonial Americas can be thought from multiple viewpoints and we try to represent all of them in the way these works are curated in the museum. You'll notice colonial art in the context European, American, and Indigenous art galleries.