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Artist Unknown Artist
Title Our Lady of La Cabeza (Nuestra Señora de La Cabeza)
Date 1675-1750
Medium Oil on copper
Place of Origin Latin America
Culture Spanish/New World
Catalog Number 2002.32.1
Collection Spanish to Post Colonial Collection
Object Name Painting
Credit line Gift of the Latin American Art Patrons
Didactic Information Typical of the era, this depiction is likely to have been influenced by an engraving and is not unlike other images of the same subject . Beyond composition, details including the quality of light, shadow and the two layered mantle covering the head of the Virgin share similarities with a piece by Juan Correa in a private collection in Mexico City. The attention given to the face reveals an "ideal of sacred beauty" within the realm of "realism". Interestingly, their are two sources of light , that which illuminates the face, and secondly, that of the auriola that lights the area behind. Another similar work by Juan de Juanes (Valencia, Spain), is in Yanacomas, Poayan, and Gonzalo Obregon has noted that this theme appears commonly in South America.

There are two distinct versions related to the iconography of this image.
(1). References to Santa Maria de la Cabeza, wife of San Isidro Labrador. The couple who worked in the service of Dn. Juan Vargs. Late in their life, they separatelted to live chaste lives as hermits. Maria de la Cabeza died in 1135. Her image, possibly rendered only as a bust, soon was popularized as relicaries and utilized by Spanish laborers.
(2). Another version of this story says that the image is the "True portrait of the Virgin", which is said to be preserved in the Cathedral of Valencia.