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Our Lady of Valvanera

1762
Miguel Cabrera, Mexican, 1695 - 1768

This small painting on copper was made for private devotional use by Miguel Cabrera, one of the leading painters in Mexico City. Although the Virgin of Valvanera was venerated in the Rioja region in northern Spain, she was also popular in Mexico in the mid-1760s, and Cabrera gave this representation of the Madonna the features and skin tone of a young Mexican woman.



The original Virgin of Valvanera was a painted wood sculpture said to have been made by Saint Luke and brought to Spain before 700. During the Muslim conquest of Spain, the sculpture was hidden in the trunk of an oak tree. According to legend, the sculpture and a box of relics were rediscovered centuries later by Nuño Oñez, a thief and murderer who repented and became a devout hermit. Oñez and the angel who told him the location of the sculpture can be seen in the background on the right.

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Object Details

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