The Conquest of Mexico. Table XVIII

Miguel Gonzáles

By Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de Argentina

The Conquest of Mexico, table XVIII (1696 - 1715) by Gonzalez MiguelMuseo Nacional de Bellas Artes de Argentina

Introduction to the series

The set of these paintings constitutes a narrative about the conquest of Mexico, from Cortés's landing in San Juan de Ulúa until the fall of Tenochtitlán and the surrender of Cuauhtémoc. In each painting, two or three scenes are represented, which in general are arranged chronologically from the background to the foreground and are captioned on panels. The selection of topics marks a narrative focused on the figures of Cortés and Moctezuma. The historical series are bordered with decorative ribbons also worked with nacre inlays. Some of the other paintings have frames made using the same technique. On the support – a board which could be covered with a canvas – the preparation layer was placed, where a first drawing was made, which allowed defining the areas where the mother-of-pearl was to be incrusted; the clothes, some objects, edges of the panels as well as the flowers and birds decorating the borders, in irregular pieces. Once the pieces of shell were attached, the drawing was retraced and a thin layer of paint was applied. In this way, the colors are iridescent with the reflections of the mother-of-pearl. 

The panel reads:
A sad and rainy night when Captain General Cortés flees from the city of Mexico, through a crowd of warriors, where on the first bridge many soldiers died on both sides, and Alvarado crossed the bridge to the other side

A sad and rainy night when Captain General Cortés flees from the city of Mexico

through a crowd of warriors

where on the first bridge many soldiers died on both sides

and Alvarado crossed the bridge to the other side

Credits: Story

Full text by Marta Dujovne available in Spanish here

Credits: All media
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