Madonna and Child with Bird

Madonna and Child with Bird

circa 1730-40
Artist
unidentified
Locale
Cuzco, Peru
Country
Peru
Style/Tradition
Peruvian Colonial
painting
Oil paint and gold on canvas
Gift of Engracia Freyer Dougherty
1972.390
unidentified. Madonna and Child with Bird. circa 1730-40. Oil paint and gold on canvas. Gift of Engracia Freyer Dougherty. 1972.390.
Dimensions
height: 25 in, 63.5000 cm; width: 18.5 in, 46.9900 cm
Department
Mayer Center, Latin American Art
Collection
Latin American Art

This painting is from Cuzco, Peru, and incorporates Spanish influences along with strong native Incan iconography. The Cuzco area was once the center of the Inca Empire, and it continued to have a significant Inca population throughout the Spanish Colonial period. The Cuzco School included many native artists as well as those of Spanish descent.
     The Inca considered birds to be sacred, partially for their ability to fly and, consequently, to move closer to the sun god. Bird feathers were incorporated into clothing and headdresses of the Inca nobility and symbolized their exalted status. In Cuzco, paintings often incorporated birds or bird feathers into images of the Virgin and Christ to indicate their sacred and honored position in colonial society. The painting is finished with a gold brocade overlay known in Spanish as broceatado, typical of the Cuzco School.
     Madonna and Child with Bird was selected as the 2006 U.S. Postal Service Christmas stamp.
-- Donna Pierce, 2015

Known Provenance
Gifted 27 November 1972 to the Denver Art Museum by Mrs. Engracia Freyer Dougherty. Provenance research is on-going at the Denver Art Museum. Please e-mail provenance@denverartmuseum.org, if you have questions, or if you have additional information to share with us.
Exhibition History
  • "Peruvian Colonial Painting," Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, Sept. 28-Nov. 12, 1972

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