Sunday, December 14, 2008

08/09 Academic Decathlon Image #15

Don Juan Joachin Gutierrez Altamirano Y Velasco, Miguel Cabrere, 1752, Oil on Canvas, 81 5/16 x 53 1/2 in. (Art during the Colonial Era)

This piece resides in the Brooklyn Museum. Notice the similarity in this Imperial portrait to that of Louis XIV of France by Hyacinthe Rigaud painted around 1701! Copy Cat! (In art we call it appropriation!)

What was more important in an imperial portrait was to convey the subject's status rather than an accurate likeness. (His powdered wig is a big status symbol.) He is portrayed as aristocratic with thin, refined features, long slender fingers and light skin - all traits valued by the elite in New Spain.

Oil paint on canvas was used to create this life-size portrait. Oil paints are perfect for creating tiny details. You can be sure this large portrait cost a pretty penny. Cabrera had a workshop with assistants: they helped him prepare the materials as well as paint the least important sections of the painting.

"Don Juan Joachin held the titles of the Sixth Count of Santiago de Calimaya and the Seventh Marquis of Salinas de Rio Pisuerga as well as maintaining a position of power within the Church. He was a wealthy landholder in both Europe and New Spain. His ancestors were explorers and conquistadores, and from them he ingerited the honarry title of High Governor-in-Perpetuity of the Phillipines (a purely ceremonial role)." Whew! No wonder he needed a huge picture of himself!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I realy thought that the portrait of Louis XIV was quite interesting because of the decorated, ornate style of the painting. It displayed a certain fascade that the king was a 'divine' figure and dislays a elite stature of royalty. Very bright, but mellow colours are used to symolise a royal presence and the clothing of the king is extravigant and made from the finest quality available.
Jerry McCusker