Artist:Bernardo Miera y PachecoShe-we-na (Zuni Pueblo)
Medium: Wood, gesso, pigments
Dimensions: 103 1/2 x 14 in. (256.5 x 36.0 cm)
Museum Location: American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, The Americas’ First Peoples, 4000 B.C.E.–1521 C.E.
Accession Number: 04.297.5143
Catalogue Description: Around 1700 the distinctive estípite column with its angular profile - widest in the middle of the shaft, narrower at the base and capital - became popular in Spain, particularly in Andalusia. Its transmission to the New World occurred when Spanish artist Jerónimo Balbás traveled to Mexico to design an altar screen for the cathedral. His Altar of the Kings (1718-37) included numerous polychrome and gilded estípite columns, which were rapidly copied and, unlike in Spain, also applied to some stone facades. The first known use of estípite columns on the northern frontier of New Spain is on the carved and painted stone altar of the castrense chapel (1761) in the style of Spanish-born artist Captain Bernardo Miera y Pacheao (1714-1785). The columns from the Lady of Guadalupe at Zuni Pueblo represent the second known example of this style in New Mexico and are exceptionally well-executed, provincial examples of the form. These were apparently gessoed and polychromed, not layered with gold leaf like estípite in central Mexico. The carving includes standard elements of the late Baroque or Estípite Baroque style characterized by Rococo decorative details such as geometric compartments in the shape of squares, circles, and rectangles as well as opposing S- and C-scroll motifs, seen on the upper shaft. The lower shaft displays chevrons, winged cherubs, vegetal filler overlapping the shaft's frame, and suspended bunches of Eucharistic grapes. Photographs and illustrations from the mid-to-late nineteenth century depict the altar screen with four large estípite columns (this one and three counterparts). The altar screen originally included a large oil painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe, images of Saint Dominic, Francis, Michael, and Gabriel, and a relief of God the Father at the top.