Encounter of Hernan Cortes and Moctezuma

Encounter of Hernan Cortes and Moctezuma

unknown artist
Giulio Ferrario, Italian, 1767-1847
Gallo Gallina, Italian, 1778-1837
Born: Cremona, Italy
Milan, Italy
Hand colored engraving on paper
Accession Number
Credit Line
Collection of Frederick and Jan Mayer

Gallo Gallina, Encounter of Hernan Cortes and Moctezuma, about 1850. Hand-colored engraving on paper; 6½ × 5½ in. Collection of Frederick and Jan Mayer, 2000.353.

image height: 6.5 in, 16.5100 cm; image width: 5.5 in, 13.9700 cm; sheet height: 14 3/4 in, 37.465 cm; sheet width: 10 in, 25.4 cm; mat height: 20 in, 50.8 cm; mat width: 16 in, 40.64 cm
top right in graphite: Mex, painted top center image 16, top right image 63, bottom right image G. Gallina, f.
Mayer Center, Latin American Art
Latin American Art

Although this engraving dates from the nineteenth century, it is based on earlier images depicting both Hernán Cortés, conqueror of Mexico, and Moctezuma, the last emperor of the Aztecs. Here, as in the earlier images, Moctezuma is seen wearing an elaborate feather cape and loincloth and holding a feathered shield. Documents from the era describe him with golden sandals and arm bands, as seen here. He also wears a necklace of beads that appear to be coral and jade or turquoise. Both men wear headgear with plumes: Cortés wears a military helmet made of iron, whereas Moctezuma is crowned with a golden diadem that indicates his status as emperor.
-- Julie Wilson Frick, 2017

Known Provenance
Gifted 2000 by Frederick and Jan Mayer to the Denver Art Museum. 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
  • “Age of Armor” — Denver Art Museum, 5/15/2022 – 9/5/2022