Screen of the Conquest of Mexico

Screen of the Conquest of Mexico
Screen of the Conquest of Mexico
Anonim

This is a most unique work. A large screen made up of 10 panels covered on both sides by painted canvases. So when the screen is unfolded in its entirety, we see on one side a scene with an aerial view of the old Mexican capital and on the other a composition that recounts the conquest of Technotitlán and the Aztec empire by the Spanish.

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Screen of the Conquest of Mexico

The author or the exact date is unknown, although it is estimated that it was made between 1675 and 1692 by a workshop specialized in this type of pictorial works and furniture. Possibly it was even a gift from the Mexican council upon the arrival of a new viceroy.

In the face in which "The very noble and loyal city of Mexico" is discovered, as it is titled, we see a very orderly city. And even more than 60 outstanding places of the capital are identified, such as the Cerro de Chapultepec, the Viceroy's Palace or the Paseo de la Alameda. And the image does not stop at a topographical view, various characters and scenes have been included in a way that is much more dynamic than other similar panoramas.

But that vibrancy and animation has nothing to do with what is shown on the other side, where each of the panels is framed at the top by a golden arch. And also in the lower left corner of the set a largecartouche explains that there we are told "The Conquest of Mexico."

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Screen of the Conquest of Mexico

Scenes of fights, battles, weapons, banners are seen and key characters are easily identified as Hernán Cortés or Moctezuma. There are many other historical figures, but while the Spanish officials are not identified, the names of some Aztec chiefs do appear. In fact, it is a kind of chronicle of events that occurred several years before the taking of the last Mexica stronghold of Tlatelolco and the definitive conquest in 1521.

It goes without saying that it is a work of Novo-Hispanic or Viceregal art, and the vision of the events is captured from the perspective of the conquerors. A work that was made with a didactic and dialectical spirit, since it is known that this type of illustrated screens were exposed at certain times before a group of people in order to provoke a debate among the attendees.

On the other hand, it must be said that there are not many folding screens of this quality, size and age. For this reason, it is a tremendously valuable work, which has been restored in recent times and belongs to a private collection.

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