Crowned nuns

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The portraits of crowned nuns offer an intriguing glimpse into the religious and social life of New Spain during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. This pictorial genre focuses on the representation of novices, showing their commitment and consecration to monastic life through symbolic and ornamental elements. This edition presents the main characteristics of this genre.

Content and symbolism

The paintings of crowned nuns portray the novices who have taken their perpetual vows, adorned with flowers, jewelry, and other elements that symbolize the mystical union with Jesus Christ. The richness in iconography of these portraits reflects various aspects of religious life and Christian ideals. For example, the red rose symbolizes martyrdom, while the lily represents purity and chastity. Elements such as the palm and lit candles relate to victory over death and religious life.

Classification and style

Portraits of crowned nuns can be classified into two categories: “booted”, with luxurious attire and silver ornaments, and “barefoot”, with more sober dress. Generally, the figures are represented in a static posture, facing the viewer or down, and with a simple background. The choice of outfits and embellishments varies, creating a visual and thematic connection between the portraits.

Profession and ceremony

The moment of profession, where the novice symbolizes her mystical wedding to Jesus, is crucial in convent life and is reflected in these portraits. The ceremony includes rituals such as lying on the ground, being covered with rose petals, and receiving rings and crowns. The ritual is deeply symbolic, representing death to the world and commitment to a life of chastity, obedience, poverty and closure.
Originally, these portraits were made in oils, but over time techniques such as photography were adopted. The transition from painting to photography reflects an evolution in the practice and accessibility of the genre, allowing for a more direct and contemporary documentation of monastic life.

Crowned nuns

Portraits of crowned nuns constitute a unique and fascinating genre that combines Baroque aesthetics with profound religious symbology. They offer a visual testimony of the conventual life, devotion and culture of the viceregal era in New Spain. Through a careful selection of symbols, dress and style, these portraits capture the solemnity and holiness of the nuns, reflecting a complex interplay between the earthly and the divine.

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Estos son los formatos y dimensiones de nuestros libros:

Rústica tipográfica148 mm210 mm
Rústica ilustrada149 mm210 mm
Tapa dura152 mm228 mm
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