El Tránsito de Nuestra Señora
- Francisco Gutierrez
Little is known about engraver Francisco Gutiérrez (active 1756-1815), but the signature “Gutierrez fc. Calle de Tacuba” suggests this diminutive devotional engraving dedicated to the “transit” of the Virgin is likely by his hand. The inscription “Calle de Tacuba” implies that Gutiérrez had a print shop on Tacuba street in Mexico City, or perhaps that he worked out of the print shop of another Mexican engraver known to have owned two print shops on that street—Joseph Mariano Navarro. References to the place of production are common on 18th-century Mexican engravings, informing potential clients as to where they could purchase further works.
The engraving represents the Virgin Mary’s last moments on earth. As she lay dying, the apostles miraculously gathered around her from distant places on earth; here Gutiérrez shows them clustered about the Virgin's somewhat inexpertly rendered bed. Moments later the Virgin will rise bodily up to heaven to dwell with her son eternally, but we witness here the seconds leading up to this assumption, in which the apostles, already grieving her death, mourn with tears falling down their cheeks. Gutiérrez’s depiction of the scene is curious for the way in which he represents the Virgin herself; her crown and heavy ornate robes are reminiscent of the appearance of colonial dressed sculptures in contrast to traditional depictions of the transit of the Virgin showing her in more humble attire. It may be that Gutiérrez cut the plate for this engraving for use of a confraternity dedicated to the transit of the Virgin and that this engraving represents their devotional sculpture rather than the celestial figure.
--Emily C. Floyd, DAM Alianza Mayer Fellow 2017
- Exhibited, 2007, Sangre de Cristo Arts Center, Pueblo, CO.