Saint Anthony

Saint Anthony

17th century
unknown artist
Mexican City School
painting, feather
Feathers and paper on copper.
Accession Number
Credit Line
Gift of the Collection of Frederick and Jan Mayer

Unknown artist, Saint Anthony, 1600s. Feathers and paper on copper; 11⅛ × 8 in. Gift of the Collection of Frederick and Jan Mayer, 2011.424.

image height: 11.125 in, 28.2575 cm; image width: 8 in, 20.3200 cm; frame height: 17 in, 43.1800 cm; frame width: 13 1/2 in, 34.2900 cm; frame depth: 1 3/4 in, 4.4450 cm
Mayer Center, Latin American Art
Latin American Art

Many Indigenous art forms continued during the Spanish Colonial era and were adapted to European and Christian subject matter. The tradition of feather arts in Mexico – previously used for making elegant Mexica (Aztec) feather capes, shields, and images of Indigenous deities – was now used to create shimmering pictures of Christian saints and became collectors’ items in Europe. Previously made in royal Mexica schools, including one attached to Moctezuma’s aviary, after the conquest feather artists (amantecas) made Mexica-style feather mosaics depicting Catholic iconography. Particularly renowned were the mission schools of Mexico City and Michoacán in western Mexico. When new, the natural iridescence of the feathers produced a shimmering effect that Christians associated with divine light from heaven.

-- Donna Pierce, 2015

Known Provenance
Gifted 29 December 2011 by the Frederick and Jan Mayer Collection to the Denver Art Museum. Provenance research is on-going at the Denver Art Museum. Please e-mail, if you have questions, or if you have additional information to share with us.
Exhibition History
  • Splendors of Baroque Mexico, Denver Art Museum, 1984-85, Denver Art Museum Permanent Galleries, 1999-2005.
  • “ReVision: Art in the Americas” — Denver Art Museum, 10/24/2021 – 7/17/2022