José de Páez
The Virgin of Guadalupe, Christ Carrying the Cross, Saints, and Souls in Purgatory
Oil on canvas
Church of St. Blaise, Aguascalientes, Mexico
The hanging pictured in the upper center is the tilma, the cloak on which the Virgin Mary is said to have imprinted her image as Our Lady of Guadalupe. It is flanked by a young St. Joseph on the left (flowering staff) and St. Nicholas of Tolentino on the right (lily stalk, birds on plate, black habit).
In the center, Jesus carries the cross, flanked by St. Francis on the left (stigmata on hands and side, rope belt with three knots) and another Franciscan saint on the right. The two Franciscans have blue habits, which were adopted by some Mexican Franciscans in this era to promote belief in the Immaculate Conception.
In the lower part of the painting the Franciscans are helping souls of every race and station out of Purgatory. According to the painting's label in a 2018 exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, images pairing Our Lady of Guadalupe with the rescue of souls in Purgatory became more common in the second half of the 18th century. The label also suggests that the person St. Francis is rescuing is the painter himself.
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Read more about St. Joseph, Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Nicholas of Tolentino, St. Francis of Assisi, and The Carrying of the Cross.
Read more about images involving Purgatory.
Photographed at the site by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.