Sister Juana de la Cruz

Unknown18th century

Museo de América

Museo de América

The upper body of Sister Juana appears, facing slightly towards the right of the viewer, dressed in the full habit of the Hieronymite Order, whose Mexican convent she founded, as it is explained by the long biographical text that accompanies the portrait. The image corresponds with the usual portraits of “crowned nuns” commonly painted by Mexican painters during the 18th century. These usually portrayed the young woman on the day she took her vows, lavishly decorated with crowns of flowers – which gives the name to this genre -, and other adornments of the same type. She bears the order’s coat of arms on her chest. They were often painted by the fashionable artists of the time and were accompanied by various images of the Infant Jesus. Generally speaking, the portraits created during the colonial period in Mexico had a specific social purpose, since they were limited to the representations of figures of an official nature. Governors, military and religious members, all of them portrayed with the typical attire of their position and with symbolic elements that reinforced this function, were the most common subjects. The appearance of the “crowned nuns” portraits thus means an important iconographic contribution, although, undoubtedly, these works also reinforced the social prestige, not only of those depicted, but also of their families, who, through donations to the nunnery, were generally seeking public esteem. For this reason, it is not unusual for the figure to appear accompanied by the family coat of arms, as in this case, and by the biographical inscription, which was often added afterwards.

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  • Title: Sister Juana de la Cruz
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 18th century
  • Provenance: Mexico
  • Original Tittle: Sor Juana de la Cruz
  • Cultural Context: Viceroyalty of New Spain
  • Type: Unknown
  • Rights: http://museodeamerica.mcu.es/
  • External Link: CERES


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