CREATING THE CULT OF ST. JOSEPH: ART AND GENDER IN THE SPANISH EMPIRE.

Black, Charlene Villasenor.

Published by Princeton University., 2006
ISBN 10: 0691096317 / ISBN 13: 9780691096315
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St. Joseph is mentioned only eight times in the New Testament Gospels. Prior to the late medieval period, Church doctrine rarely noticed him except in passing. But in 1555 this humble carpenter, earthly spouse of the Virgin Mary and foster father of Jesus, was made patron of the Conquest and conversion in Mexico. In 1672, King Charles II of Spain named St. Joseph patron of his kingdom, toppling St. James--traditional protector of the Iberian peninsula for over 800 years--from his honored position. Focusing on the changing manifestations of Holy Family and St. Joseph imagery in Spain and colonial Mexico from the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries, this book examines the genesis of a new saint's cult after centuries of obscurity. In so doing, it elucidates the role of the visual arts in creating gender discourses and deploying them in conquest, conversion, and colonization.

Charlene Villaseñor Black examines numerous images and hundreds of primary sources in Spanish, Latin, Náhuatl, and Otomí. She finds that St. Joseph was not only the most frequently represented saint in Spanish Golden Age and Mexican colonial art, but also the most important. In Spain, St. Joseph was celebrated as a national icon and emblem of masculine authority in a society plagued by crisis and social disorder. In the Americas, the parental figure of the saint--model father, caring spouse, hardworking provider--became the perfect paradigm of Spanish colonial power.

Creating the Cult of St. Joseph exposes the complex interactions among artists, the Catholic Church and Inquisition, the Spanish monarchy, and colonial authorities. One of the only sustained studies of masculinity in early modern Spain, it also constitutes a rare comparative study of Spain and the Americas.

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"The cult of St. Joseph--by far the most important in Spanish-speaking countries in the early modern period--has never been comprehensively examined. Villaseñor Black addresses it thematically, taking a welcome inclusive approach to the art of Spain and the colonies. It is to the author's immense credit that she undertook a study so ambitious in scope and interprets two bodies of data with equal sensitivity. Giving insight into how the art functioned within the society for which it was produced, she makes an important contribution to a field of study previously characterized by extreme conservatism."--Mindy Nancarrow, University of Alabama

"A very valuable contribution to art history, comparative cultural studies, and gender studies, this book is particularly significant in presenting new conceptions about Catholic art, the construction of gender, and the politics of art. While presenting data that has not been available to an English-reading audience, the author turns old sex stereotypes on their heads. The book is based on solid scholarship, but it will appeal to a more general readership interested in art, religion, gender, or the development of a 'Hispanic world.' "--Mary Elizabeth Perry, author of Gender and Disorder in Early Modern Seville

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Title: CREATING THE CULT OF ST. JOSEPH: ART AND ...
Publisher: Princeton University.
Publication Date: 2006
Book Condition: Very Good

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