collections
Mexican Colonial

Fray Miguel de Herrera

Mexico 1700-1789
A Monastic Founder (Saint William of Aquitaine) 92.0016

Monastic founders and saints were frequently portrayed in Mexican art. This is a likeness of Saint William of Aquitaine, the French Count of Poitiers, a contemporary of Saint Bernard in the 1100s. The Count renounced a military career in order to found a monastic society that later merged with the Augustinians in 1256. William is thus portrayed in an Augustinian habit with a discarded military helmet and earthly crown at his feet. In the composition, the earthly and aristocratic life to which he gestures is contrasted with the life of the church, which will yield a heavenly crown seen in the upper left. The Latin phrase at the bottom of the painting reads, "You have a transitory crown now but will have an eternal one in heaven." Herrera was himself an Augustinian friar and may have painted this for one of the Augustinian monasteries.

 

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