Cuzco School

The Marriage of the Virgin by Cuzco School

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Rolled Canvas
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The central part of this scene depicting the Marriage of the Virgin is derived from a traditional composition taken from a Flemish engraving of the second half of the sixteenth century. As the art historian Francisco Stastny has explained, this composition was extended horizontally to incorporate a retinue of angels, who accompany the couple at the altar and scatter roses in their path. Following a well-known passage from the apocryphal gospels, the painter has shown Saint Joseph with a flowering rod, above which the Holy Spirit flies, signaling that he is the man chosen to marry the Virgin. In contrast, one of the unsuccessful suitors breaks his dry rod, while the others move away. Although this canvas is derived from the Europeanized painting of the indigenous master Basilio de Santa Cruz, at the same time it represents an advance in the development of a purely local style. In it one can appreciate the elongation of the figures and conventional body-language which –together with an emphatically ornamental sensibility- would characterize the Cusco painting of the eighteenth century.