Past Exhibition

San Antonio 1718: Art from Viceregal Mexico

February 17–May 13, 2018

Cowden Gallery

José de Páez (New Spain, 1720–1790), Mexican Castes (Castas mexicanas), (15 total), ca. 1780, “1. De Español, e India, produce mestizo”, 18th century, Oil on canvas; 36 x 41 in. (91 x 104.5 cm), Private Collection. Photography by Peggy Tenison.

Three hundred years ago the city of San Antonio was founded as a strategic outpost of presidios defending the colonial interests of northern New Spain and missions advancing Christian conversion. The city’s missions bear architectural witness to the time of their founding, but few have walked these sites without wondering who once lived there, what they saw, valued, and thought.

San Antonio 1718: Art from Viceregal Mexico tells the story of the city’s first century through more than one hundred landscapes, portraits, narrative paintings, sculptures, and devotional and decorative objects, many of them never before exhibited in the United States. The exhibition is organized in three sections: People and Places, The Cycle of Life, and The Church.

San Antonio 1718 includes portraits of political and economic power, Spanish viceroys and military leaders who helped shape the destiny of the city. It explores the intrepid Franciscan missionaries who spearheaded the evangelization of the region, including Fray Antonio Margil de Jésus, known as the “Patron Saint of Texas,” and the religious figures who anchored their teachings such as the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception and her American manifestation, the Virgin of Guadalupe.

Many works are more personal: portraits of poised young women whose marriages will solidify status, aspirational paintings of young families at home, nuns depicted at the threshold of their vows or at their death, intimate miniatures of lovers and soldiers, post-mortem portraits of infants. Throughout, the works invoke the lineage and authority of mainland Spain, while revealing the lives and times of San Antonio’s earliest inhabitants.

Celebrating the city’s deep Hispanic roots and cultural ties with Mexico, San Antonio 1718 features works by New Spain’s most talented eighteenth-century artists, including Cristόbal de Villalpando (1649-1714), Miguel Cabrera (1695-1768), and José de Páez (1720-1790), as well as pieces by talented unknown vernacular artists. It is accompanied by a fully illustrated scholarly catalogue.

The exhibition is generously funded by Bexar County, the William and Salomé Scanlan Foundation, Patsy Steves, the Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation, NuStar Energy, the Greehy Family Foundation, and Myfe White Moore. This exhibition is supported by the City of San Antonio’s Department of Arts & Culture. Support for the San Antonio 1718 catalogue was provided by the Russell Hill Rogers Fund for the Arts. 

This exhibition is presented in collaboration with Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH).

Exhibition Gallery

cambujo e india
Jose de Páez (New Spain, 1720-1790), De Campbujo e India produce Sambaigo, from series of Mexican Castes, ca. 1780, Oil on canvas; h. 36 in. (91 cm); w. 41 in. (104.5 cm), Private Collection Photography by Minerva Morales
matrimonio san miguel
gigante martin
José María Guerrero (New Spain, active end of 18th – early 19th century), Martín, the Giant (El gigante Martín [Martín Salmerón y Ojeda]), 1796, Oil on canvas, h. 108 in. (275 cm); w. 67 in. (170 cm), Museo Nacional de Historia, 10-573664, Secretaría de Cultura, INAH, MX. Mexico City Photography by Francisco Kochen
Esquivel
Ignacio María Barreda (New Spain, late 18th century), María Manuela Esquivel y Serruto, 1794 Oil on canvas, h. 29 in. (81 cm); w. 37 in. (61 cm), Museo Nacional de Historia, 10-233550, Secretaría de Cultura, INAH, MX. Mexico City. Photography by Francisco Kochen
san saba
José de Páez (New Spain, 1720-1790), Martyrdom of Franciscans at Mission San Saba (El Matirio de los Franciscanos en la Misión de San Sabá), ca. 1765, Oil on canvas, h. 93 in. (237 cm); w. 126 in. (527.5 cm), Museo Nacional de Arte, Secretaría de Cultura, INBA, MX. Mexico City.
galvez
José Germán de Alfaro (New Spain, active 1779-1786), Count Bernardo de Gálvez (Conde Bernardo de Gálvez), ca. 1785, Oil on canvas, h. 44 in. (112 cm); w. 33 ½ in. (84 cm), Museo Nacional de Historia, 10-230126, Secretaría de Cultura, INAH, MX. Mexico City. Photography by Francisco Kochen
ciudad mística
sor maria antonia
fray Joseph

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