|Title||Virgin of Guadalupe (La Virgen de Guadalupe)|
|Medium||oil on canvas|
|Place of Origin||Mexico|
|Collection||Spanish to Post Colonial Collection|
|Credit line||Gift of Mrs. Cele Peterson|
The Virgin of Guadalupe has become a symbol of Mexican identity. December 12th is celebrated with special masses and processions in her honor. In December 1531 an Indian convert, Juan Diego, while walking past Tepeyac Hill near Mexico City, heard his name called. He saw a beautiful woman who said she was the Virgin Mary. She told Juan to go to Bishop Zumarraga in Mexico City and tell him to build her a church on the spot where she had appeared. Twice the Bishop refused Juan's request and insisted on a sign. Mary, during a third appearance, told Juan to gather roses, out of season in December, from the hillside and take them to the Bishop. He wrapped them in his tilma (cloak) and when he dumped the roses at the Bishop's feet, the image of the Virgin Mary was miraculously imprinted on the tilma. The image of the tilma is the subject on many retablos, sometimes with Juan Diego holding the cloak. The original tilma is displayed in the Basilica of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, which was constructed at the virgin's request.
Tepeyac Hill is the site where the Aztecs had venerated a female deity, Teotonantzin, the mother of the Gods. While the Virgin of Guadalupe has been considered a New World manifestation of the Virgin, she was previously known and celebrated in Northern Spain.