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The Infant Jesus with Angelic Musicians

Juan Correa1000

Museo Nacional de Arte

Museo Nacional de Arte

Much has been written about the loose brushwork and bright colors of Juan Correa, an artist pertaining to the period when neo-Hispanic baroque was at its peak, but perhaps one of the most noteworthy facts is that, though Correa was a mulatto, the color of his skin did not impede his paintings from attaining enormous success. In this small-scale work, we can note the significance afforded to liturgical music, it being important to appreciate that both hearing and sight were deemed to be higher senses in that period. The depiction of the infant Jesus accompanied by angelic musicians is exceptional and recent research has shown that the musical scores shown in this piece are those of a hymn of praise that was sung on the 19th of March, the day of the feast of Saint Joseph. The representation of angels in Correa’s work is also deemed pertinent, and it has been suggested that the painter might have been alluding to his own mixed race by portraying mulatto angels in some of his paintings. In this work, the dark-skinned possible angel is playing the cornet just behind the infant Jesus. This painting passed to the MUNAL from the San Diego Viceregal Painting Gallery in the year 2000.

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Details

  • Title: The Infant Jesus with Angelic Musicians
  • Date Created: 1000
  • painter: Juan Correa
  • Provenance: San Diego Viceregal Painting Gallery, 2000
  • Physical Dimensions: w1435 x h760 mm (complete)
  • Original Spanish object note: Mucho se ha escrito sobre Juan Correa, artista perteneciente al apogeo del barroco novohispano, sobre su pincelada suelta y brillante colorido, pero quizá uno de los hechos más notables es que Correa era mulato y el color de su piel no fue un obstáculo para el enorme éxito que alcanzó su producción artística. En este cuadro de pequeño formato se aprecia la importancia otorgada a la música en la liturgia; cabe recordar que tanto el oído como la vista eran considerados en aquella época sentidos superiores. La representación del niño Jesús acompañado por ángeles músicos es excepcional y estudios recientes han demostrado que las partituras presentes en la pintura corresponden a un himno de alabanza que se entonaba durante la celebración a san José, el 19 de marzo. El tema de los ángeles también es relevante en la obra de Juan Correa, pues se ha mencionado la posibilidad de que el artista aludiera a su identidad racial representando ángeles mulatos en algunas de sus pinturas. En este lienzo, el posible angelillo de color quebrado toca un corneto y se ubica justo detrás del niño Jesús. Esta obra ingresó al MUNAL procedente de la Pinacoteca Virreinal de San Diego en el año 2000.
  • Original title: El niño Jesús con ángeles músicos
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Museo Nacional de Arte, INBA, http://www.munal.com.mx/rights.html
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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