Monday, March 22, 2010

72 Virgens

In a moment of cultural ambition the other day, we decided to take in the Querétaro Museum of Art's new exhibit "The Image of the Virgin of Guadalupe in the Nation's History." We've been immersed in a fair amount of religious iconography lately, for professional reasons, so we were especially interested in the different interpretations of the patron saint of Mexico.

Which is why we burst out laughing the minute we entered the great hall (sorry, no photos allowed). We don't know why we didn't think of this, but, unlike Jesus, who was an actual man with a long and varied narrative to his life story - he preached, traveled, performed miracles, was crucified, etc - the Virgin of Guadalupe is literally a painting - so throughout the nation's history, the image looks exactly the same: brown-skinned chick with her hands clasped, greenish robe, reddish dress, borne aloft in a giant, floating fertility symbol by a little angel under her feet. Painting after identical painting, sprawling through three rooms. It was Warholesque. The background changed from time to time - she'd show up on a banner, or share the canvas with Porfirio Diaz - but that was about it.

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