The Virgin of Guadalupe and Virgin of the Remedies Travel Back to Spain

Context

The Virgins of Guadalupe and Remedies both occupy cult status. Beginning in the sixteenth century, these two images worked miracles that garnered them devotion among Spaniards and indigenous alike. Despite origins in Spain, both images developed cults that resided uniquely in the New World. The relationship between the two during the Mexican wars of independence has been well studied. Scholars have concluded that priest, Miguel Hidalgo, claimed Guadalupe as the patron of the Mexicans as Remedios had become inextricably tied to the Spanish Viceroyalty.

My honors thesis in Art History seeks to understand the origins of these cults, the role of the religious orders in their growth, and how the success of their cults impacted their spread in continental Spain. The Virgin de los Remedios is a generic Virgin, meaning that not all incarnations of her appear the same. The Virgin of Guadalupe originates with a medieval black Virgin located at the Monastery of Guadalupe in Spain. Despite this titular origin, the Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico has virtually no iconographic or pictographic connection to her predecessor. It is this uniquely new world image that has spread in reproductions around the world, while the older, Spanish Marian image has been all but forgotten. It is my aim to investigate these changing tides of devotion, and I hope that my map visualization of the shrines of Guadalupe and Remedios in Spain will provide a useful tool in understanding such shifts.

Theoretical Framework

The spread of these images during the colonial era fits well into Postcolonial theory. This theory, popularized by the likes of Homi Bhabha and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, describes the flow of ideas from the center, in this case, continental Spain, and the periphery, in this place, Mexico. Prior to postcolonial theory, there was a dearth of scholarship on the periphery. The theory seeks to rectify that. However, by the late 1990s, Spivak herself began to critique aspects of the theory. Postcolonial theory does not entirely address the phenomenon which I aim to explore. While the theory is apt for my work on the Virgins within Mexcio and indigenous appropriation of ritual, it does not address what happens when these cults and their indigenous aspcets move back to Spain. This reverse-flow of ideas from Mexico back to Spain during the Colonial era manifested itself in the growth of cults to the Virgin of Remedies and the Mexican Virgin of Guadalupe in Spain.

While data suggests that this reverse flow exists, it brings up additional questions. Was there any particular decade or period that saw an excess or lack of imports? How does the growth of shrines compare between Guadalupe and Remedios? How did devotion differ across the Atlantic? If possible, I would also like analyze the images at these shrines. I hope to answer some of these questions during throughout this project. I believe that the process of my project will ask further questions about the data and my investigation. For example, is my data accurate? If it is not complete, does it represent an accurate proportion?

The Plan

I propose to create a web map documenting the locations and dates of arrival of representation of the Virgin of Guadalupe and the Virgin of the Remedies in Spain in order to visually represent this flow. Because my story will start in 16th century Mexico City, my map will also begin there. I plan to overlay the Trasmonte Map, currently held in the collections of UT Austin, onto current-day Mexico City. The Trasmonte Map depicts the island city in 1628. It marks several major churches, including the cathedral which is depicted as under construction. With its bird’s eye view, this map will provide extra detail and color to the depiction of early Mexico.

Following this, I will use Jose Antonio Martinez Puche and Rafael del Olmo Veros’ data from María, madre de la Hispanidad: vírgenes patronas de España y América to pinpoint shrines to the Virgin of Remedies and Guadalupe in Spain, dating them based on their development. This will help me to visualize the spread of devotion to this virgin after the growth of her cult in the New World. I will also scour museum collections and provenance histories on the web to locate reproductions of the Mexican Guadalupe in Spain. These will be pinpointed as well, telling a more wholistic story.

Tools

In order to accomplish this project, I plan to use a few tools. I hope to overlay the Trasmonte map with a current map of Mexico City using Mapwarper. I hope this will be successful in placing the image in its original context. Regardless, I hope to include the image of the map if given the appropriate permissions. For my larger project, I will be Flâneur or Boulevardier, a Jekyll theme developed by Dawn Childress for maps and texts. Los Angeles: The City and the Library use this map for their project quite effectively. I will use its narrative capacity to argue my thesis while the mapping feature will exhibit the evidence.

Audience

I anticipate those familiar with the thesis topic to be the primary audience of my map. The initial functions in conjunction with the third chapter of my thesis. While I plan for it to work in conjunction, my map should be functional and educational for those with only the background information that I provide them, and I hope that they will want to explore the topic further in my thesis.

Conclusion

Mapping the Virgins of Mexico in Spain seeks to tie devotions to the Virgins of Guadalupe and Remedios to place on a web map. I hope to stitch together traditional academic research with this digital component to further my argument. The project will answer questions about Colonial Mexico and Spain and help us to think about New World contributions to Catholicism.