The Virgin Mary with Christ Child, Saint Dominic, Saint Francis, and Indigenous Worshippers
On View: American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, From Colonies to States, 1660–1830
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.
Oil on panel
late 18th century
panel: 14 x 10 3/8 in. (35.6 x 26.4 cm) (show scale)
Museum Expedition 1941, Frank L. Babbott Fund
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Unknown. The Virgin Mary with Christ Child, Saint Dominic, Saint Francis, and Indigenous Worshippers, late 18th century. Oil on panel, panel: 14 x 10 3/8 in. (35.6 x 26.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1941, Frank L. Babbott Fund, 41.1275.224 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 41.1275.224_PS9.jpg)
overall, 41.1275.224_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2020
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