Virgin of the Victory of Málaga (Nuestra Señora de la Victoria de Málaga)
- unknown artist
Unknown artist, Virgin of the Victory of Málaga (Nuestra Señora de la Victoria de Málaga), late 1600s or 1700s. Oil paint and gold leaf on canvas; 59 × 43¾ in. Gift of John C. Freyer for the Frank Barrows Freyer Collection at the Denver Art Museum, 1969.345.
Painted representations of sculptures of the Virgin Mary were common in both Spain and the Americas. The sculptures were believed to hold miraculous powers to aid the devout, and they were dressed in gold and silver cloth to express their holiness. In the painted versions, artists were careful to render the fine textiles and objects used to embellish the sculptures, as verisimilitude was important to worshipers who knew them only from paintings.
As indicated by the inscription along the bottom edge, this is a painting of a famous sculpture of the Virgin Mary from the city of Málaga in Spain. Although the artist is unknown, the canvas was painted in the Viceroyalty of Peru in the late 1600s or early 1700s. The extraordinary use of gold and silver for the textiles and architectural elements is characteristic of artistic centers in the Andean highlands, such as Cuzco and Potosí. The landscape fragments at the bottom indicate that the original canvas was larger and included scenes depicting miracles performed by the Virgin of Málaga.
Jorge F. Rivas Pérez, Frederick and Jan Mayer Curator of Latin American Art