The Conquest of Mexico, table XII (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:
After Captain General Cortés had put a siege to the city of Mexico, he entered the houses fighting, killing many warriors of the Mexicans until he took over the bridges where he won the battle with the soldiers' great courage.
After Captain General Cortés had put a siege to the city of Mexico...
he entered the houses fighting
killing many warriors of the Mexicans
until he took over the bridges where he won the battle with the soldiers' great courage
Full text by Marta Dujovne available in Spanish here