Virgin of Immaculate Conception with Franciscan Saints
- Diego Quispe Tito, Peruvian, 1611-1681
- Born: Cuzco, Peru
- Work Locations: Cuzco, Peru
Diego Quispe Tito, Virgin of Immaculate Conception with Franciscan Saints, about 1675. Oil paint on canvas; 64 × 48 in. Gift of John Critcher Freyer for the Frank Barrows Freyer Collection at the Denver Art Museum, 1969.344.
The most well known artist in 17th-century Cuzco, Peru was Diego Quispe Tito (1611-1681), a Quechua Indian of noble Inca ancestry. Here Quispe Tito, likely working from a European engraving as was common artistic practice, painted the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, surrounded by symbols of her purity including but not limited to flowers, water and a mirror. She stands on a silver cresent moon, a symbol of her immaculate conception, while a dove, the symbol of the holy spirit, hovers over her head.
While at first glance this might look to be a European style religious painting there are some elements that make it uniquely Peruvian. The extraordinary use of gold stamping to create the pattern on the cloth is exclusive to Cuzco and the surrounding highland areas, including Bolivia. Also, the red and blue wings and drapery on the angels is interesting to note as red and blue feathers were sacred to the Inca and were symbols of nobility. Although Lima became the political capital of colonial Peru, Cuzco remained its artistic capital, as it had been in Inca times.
--Julie Wilson Frick & Donna Pierce, 2015