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As a result of the cultural emphasis placed by the Republicans on the history of Mexico, and also of the noteworthy progress made in archeological research, knowledge of the pre-Hispanic world became more widespread and more highly appreciated. Official state rhetoric, in its endeavors to affirm a national identity, equated ancient Mexico with a "glorious past". The present work by Leandro Izaguirre forms part of this new national awareness, the corollary of which is the dismissal of the Spanish Conquest as a greedy and destructive violation of ancestral civilizations. The Mexican art shown at the international exhibitions which were so frequently held in the final decades of the XIXth century consisted of works devoted to this type of topic, along with Academic landscapes. This piece was painted in a monumental format precisely so that it could be shown at the Universal Columbus Exhibition held in Chicago in 1893. The theatrically depicted scene portrayed in it was based on a popular tale about the tortures that were inflicted on Cuauhtémoc and his cousin, Tetlepanquetzal, Lord of Tlacopan, in order to make them reveal the location of Moctezuma´s treasure to the greedy Spaniards. Reinterpreting the historical chronicles, the artist shows us figures located within an idealized environment, with garments, adornments and architectural features pertaining to the XVIth century. The ideological emphasis of this piece is on the laudable heroism of Cuauhtémoc, the last Aztec tlatoani (emperor) to rule before the fall of Tenochtitlan, who, according to legend, thrust his feet into the brazier of hot coals being used to torture him, while, wracked with pain, he turned to his cousin and asked him "Do you think I'm lying on a bed of roses?". This work was shown at the XXIII rd Exhibition of the National Fine Arts School in 1899. It entered the MUNAL, as part of its founding endowment, in 1982.

Details

  • Title: The Torture of Cuauhtémoc
  • Date Created: 1893
  • painter: Leandro Izaguirre
  • Provenance: Constituve Collection
  • Physical Dimensions: w4540 x h2945 mm (complete)
  • Original Spanish object note: En el último tercio del siglo XIX, la suma del proyecto cultural republicano sobre el discurso de la historia nacional y los notables avances en las investigaciones arqueológicas popularizaron el conocimiento y la valoración del mundo prehispánico. La retórica oficial del Estado elevó al México antiguo a la categoría de "glorioso pasado" como sustento de la identidad patria. Esta obra de Leandro Izaguirre forma parte de esa conciencia que en su otra cara desprestigió la conquista española vislumbrándola como ambiciosa y destructora de las civilizaciones ancestrales. Este tipo de temáticas junto con los paisajes académicos representaron al arte nacional en las frecuentes exposiciones internacionales de las últimas décadas del siglo. La pieza fue pintada precisamente en un formato monumental para ser remitida a la Exposición Universal Colombina de Chicago, en 1893. El episodio, teatralizado en su composición, se basó en un relato popular sobre el suplicio al que fueron sometidos Cuauhtémoc y su primo Tetlepanquetzal, señor de Tlacopan, para revelar a los codiciosos conquistadores la ubicación del tesoro de Moctezuma. El artista, reinterpretando las crónicas, representó la escena con figuras distribuidas en medio de una ambientación idealizada con indumentarias, decoraciones y elementos arquitectónicos del siglo XVI. En el aspecto ideológico se puso de manifiesto la virtuosa heroicidad del último tlatoani azteca, antes de la caída de Tenochtitlan, quien imperturbable extiende sus pies al brasero mientras, según narra la leyenda, se dirige a su primo, doblegado ante el dolor, para decirle: "¿Estoy acaso en un lecho de rosas?" La obra se exhibió en la XXIII Exposición de la Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes en 1899. Ingresó al MUNAL en 1982 como parte de su acervo constitutivo.
  • Original title: El suplicio de Cuauhtémoc
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Museo Nacional de Arte, INBA, http://www.munal.com.mx/rights.html
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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