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Doña María de la Luz Padilla y Gómez de Cervantes

Nicolás Enríquez

American Art

On View: Luce Visible Storage and Study Center, 5th Floor
Throughout the Spanish empire and in Europe in general, the lesser nobility and wealthy merchant classes imitated the royal courts in their patronage of the arts, including the commissioning of full-length portraits. Doña María de la Luz (whose adult portrait is also on view in this exhibition) is portrayed here in her Mexico City town house with a toddler’s rattle and a silver-mounted coral pacifier. Despite her young age, the sitter wears an embroidered silk dress in the height of French fashion complemented by a costly pearl necklace and matching earrings and bracelets. In Spanish America, the early eighteenth century saw the rise of the female portrait, which had been nearly nonexistent in seventeenth-century Mexico and Peru.

The painting of John Van Cortlandt, a young member of New York’s Anglo-Dutch elite, is likewise based on a European model, in this case British Grand Manner portraits of the period. The sitter wears a man’s European formal jacket of wool and inhabits a fanciful setting.


En todo el imperio español y en Europa en general, la nobleza menor y las clases mercantes adineradas imitaban a la corte real en su mecenazgo de las artes, comisionando retratos de cuerpo entero. Doña María de la Luz (cuyo retrato de adulta también puede verse en esta exposición) está representada aquí en su residencia urbana en la Ciudad de México con un cascabel de bebé y un chupete de coral montado en plata. A pesar de su corta edad, la modelo luce un vestido de seda bordada a la moda francesa, complementado por un costoso collar de perlas con aretes y pulseras a juego. En Hispanoamérica, el comienzo del siglo XVIII vio el surgimiento del retrato femenino, que había sido prácticamente inexistente tanto en México como en Perú durante el siglo XVII.

La pintura de John Van Cortlandt, joven miembro de la élite angloholandesa de Nueva York, está asimismo basada en un modelo europeo, en este caso en retratos británicos de la época al estilo Grand Manner. El joven lleva una chaqueta masculina formal de lana y posa en un extravagante escenario.

MEDIUM Oil on canvas
  • Place Made: Mexico
  • DATES ca. 1735
    DIMENSIONS Oval: 35 3/8 x 26 in. (89.9 x 66 cm) frame: 43 1/16 x 33 1/2 x 3 11/16 in. (109.4 x 85.1 x 9.4 cm)  (show scale)
    INSCRIPTIONS Lower left: "D.a Maria de la Luz Josepha de Padilla y Cervantes."
    COLLECTIONS American Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Luce Visible Storage and Study Center, 5th Floor
    ACCESSION NUMBER 52.166.3
    CREDIT LINE Museum Collection Fund and Dick S. Ramsay Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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    CAPTION Attributed to Nicolás Enríquez (Mexican, active 1730-1768). Doña María de la Luz Padilla y Gómez de Cervantes, ca. 1735. Oil on canvas, Oval: 35 3/8 x 26 in. (89.9 x 66 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Collection Fund and Dick S. Ramsay Fund, 52.166.3
    IMAGE overall, 52.166.3_PS6.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2012
    "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 Maria de la Luz Padilla y Cervantes (1732-1789). An oil painting by an unknown artist which shows Dona Maria as a child of three years old. In this oval portrait she is dressed typically in adult clothes. Her dress is red and blue trimmed with lace. She holds a bunch of red carnations in her left hand and a fan in her right hand. In the right side of the picture is a stool with a blue cover and gold fringe on which is quarter view facing the right side. Condition: good with some small dotted scratches.
    RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (92%)
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