Analysis Of Nicolas Enriquez's The Virgin Of Guadalupe

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Nicolas Enriquez’s piece titled The Virgin of Guadalupe with the Four Apparitions depicts the Virgin mother Mary as she revealed herself to a newly transformed Christian Native named Juan Diego. This 1773 painting is a reproduction of the 1531believed arheiropoeita of Virgin Mary when she descends on Mount Tepeyac and tells Indian Juan Diego to go inform the bishop that a temple shall be built for her. The Virgin of Guadalupe is an iconic piece of Catholicism in Mexico and holds religious and cultural importance to both Spaniards and the Natives of Mexico, such as the Nahuatl. Enriquez’s painting has several deviations from the original arheiropoetia, such as different color choice and addition of Nahuatl symbols, which portrays his painting…show more content…
Enriquez’s choice of using oil on copper may have been chosen for multiple reasons. Firstly, oil on copper paintings do not require art conservation efforts because of the chemical properties of copper. This leaves artworks in pristine condition with luminous colors and no cracks. Enriquez’s choice may allude to the fact that he wants his painting to imitate the timelessness and well-kept image of the original arheiropoeita as something made from the divine would never deteriorate. The inscription on the bottom of the painting also suggests Enriquez wants his painting to be revered akin to the original as it states: “Tocada à su Maravilloso Original, el día dos de Julio de 1789” meaning that his painting was sanctified by the original painting in 1789 (The Metropolitan Museum of Art). Additionally, the use of copper adds to the holy iridescence of the painting and Virgin Mary as the way the sunlight reflects on copper gives it a luminescent shine that glows from beneath the paint. The painting is also bordered by a golden frame and has golden details throughout the painting, such as the golden sun rays radiating form Virgin Mary. The Virgin Mary is depicted wearing a golden crown and a robe studded with gold stars and bordered in gold. She is wearing a golden cross pendant and golden bracelets on both her hands. Enriquez’s utilization of the color gold gives the Virgin Mary a regal aura and establishes her importance by dressing her in one the world’s most coveted and reverenced metals. Enriquez also uses more gold than the original perhaps to appeal to the Spanish merchant he painted for. Furthermore, the painting creates a heavenly imagery and establishes the Virgin Mary as divine as she pictured surrounded by white clouds and being carried by an angel while standing on the moon. As the painting is about 2 feet tall, one would stare up at this painting and feel the majestic ambience as the Virgin Mary
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