The Conquest of Mexico, table IV (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.
Captain Cortés's soldiers work to build Villa Rica, and the Totonac Indians help them - Father Fray Bartolomé de Olmedo preaches, and baptizes the eight Indian women that Cacique Gordo gave - Captain General Cortés orders to overthrow the idols that were in the Zempoal village.
The panel reads:
Captain Cortés's soldiers work to build Villa Rica...
and the Totonac Indians help them -
Father Fray Bartolomé de Olmedo preaches,
and baptizes the eight Indian women that Cacique Gordo gave -
Captain General Cortés orders to pull down the idols that were in the Zempoal village
Full text by Marta Dujovne available in Spanish here