Portrait of María del Carmen Cortés Santelizes y Cartavio

Portrait of María del Carmen Cortés Santelizes y Cartavio

circa 1760
Artist
Anonymous
Country
Peru
painting
Oil paint on canvas.
Funds from Jan & Frederick R. Mayer, Carl & Marilynn Thoma, Jim & Marybeth Vogelzang, Lorraine & Harley Higbie
2000.250.2
Anonymous. Portrait of María del Carmen Cortés Santelizes y Cartavio. circa 1760. Oil paint on canvas.. Funds from Jan & Frederick R. Mayer, Carl & Marilynn Thoma, Jim & Marybeth Vogelzang, Lorraine & Harley Higbie. 2000.250.2.
Dimensions
image height: 31 in, 78.7400 cm; image width: 25 in, 63.5000 cm; frame height: 39 in, 99.0600 cm; frame width: 32 7/8 in, 83.5025 cm; frame depth: 3 3/4 in, 9.5250 cm
Inscription
Upper right corner in Spanish.
Department
Mayer Center, Latin American Art
Collection
Latin American Art

Portraiture became increasingly important in colonial Latin America where local artists generally followed the canons accepted for official portraiture in Europe, with figures portrayed in three-quarter view gazing directly at the viewer and flanked by drapery. However, in the Americas the focus on social standing often overshadowed any effort to convey the essential personality of the subject. Although colonial artists accomplished a physical likeness, the faces often show little expression. Instead artists focused their attention on depicting rich details of luxurious clothing and objects that allude to the subject’s abilities or accomplishments. Sometimes coats-of-arms or cartouches with inscriptions outlining the sitter’s heritage or honors were included.
     This portrait is one of a pair that was painted of a married couple from Trujillo, Peru. Maria del Carmen Cortes y Cartavio was born in Trujillo and descended from one of Columbus’s navigators. She holds a book in her right hand, suggesting that she was literate, and wears a brocade dress made with gold and silk thread and adorned with silver-thread trim. Her elaborate jewelry includes pearl chandelier earrings, a three-strand pearl necklace with suspended cross of silver and diamonds, plus pearl bracelets, a diamond ring, and a rosary with gold filigree cross. Her husband (2000.250.2) was born in Spain and immigrated to Peru to serve as head of the Royal Bank in Trujillo.
-- Donna Pierce, 2015

 

Known Provenance
Purchased by the Denver Art Museum in 2000 with funds from Jan & Frederick R. Mayer, Carl & Marilynn Thoma, Jim & Marybeth Vogelzang, Lorraine & Harley Higbie. 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
  • “ReVision: Art in the Americas” — Denver Art Museum, 2/16/2020 – 11/8/2020

Some images in our online collection are at thumbnail size, in accordance with AAMD guidelines, because they are protected by copyright. The Denver Art Museum respects the rights of artists or their representatives who retain the copyright to their work. Other images represent the best photography available and should be used as reference images only. Please complete the Image Rights Request form if you want to request a high resolution image.