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The Virgin Mary with Indigenous (Aymara) Donors


American Art

In these two richly decorated paintings from the Viceroyalty of Peru, worshippers gather in devotion around the Virgin Mary. Both images feature the Indigenous donors—identifiable by their traditional Andean dress—who commissioned the respective paintings.

Members of the Indigenous elite occupied a precarious place in the Spanish Americas. Referred to by Spanish officials as indios amigos (friendly Indians), they retained cultural customs that were widely displaced by colonization and navigated the imposition of Catholicism—a practice that allowed them to maintain a degree of their pre-Conquest prestige. The complexity and instability of racial hierarchies is further illustrated by the solemn young figure at the bottom right of The Virgin Mary with Christ Child, Saint Dominic, Saint Francis, and Indigenous Donors, whom some scholars interpret as the Andean worshippers’ free or enslaved servant.
ARTIST Unknown
MEDIUM Oil on wood panel
  • Place Made: La Paz, Bolivia
  • DATES 1752
    DIMENSIONS panel: 10 1/4 x 7 9/16 x 3/8 in. (26 x 19.2 x 1 cm)  (show scale)
    INSCRIPTIONS Painted at bottom center: "Dn Mariano Pina Fonda- / dor y mayor-ad-Lascni / chosya badades y a Aront"
    COLLECTIONS American Art
    ACCESSION NUMBER 41.1275.225
    CREDIT LINE Museum Expedition 1941, Frank L. Babbott Fund
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Unknown. The Virgin Mary with Indigenous (Aymara) Donors, 1752. Oil on wood panel, panel: 10 1/4 x 7 9/16 x 3/8 in. (26 x 19.2 x 1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1941, Frank L. Babbott Fund, 41.1275.225 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 41.1275.225_PS4.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 41.1275.225_PS4.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2010
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