Bookshelf / Chapters

Recomposing the Image. Presents and Absents in the Mass of Saint Gregory, Mexico, 1539

Abstract

An artwork is impeccably composed in 1539, in Mexico-Tenochtitlan and shipped to Europe in order, in fact, to recompose the tarnished image of the Christianization itself. This essay relates a detail of the inscription of the frame—the word "composita"— with the creation of this masterpiece and with a deep historical analysis of that crucial year in New Spain.

Russo, Alessandra, “Recomposing the Image. Presents and Absents in the Mass of Saint Gregory, Mexico, 1539”, in: Synergies: Creating Art in Joined Culture, ed. Manuela De Giorgi, Annette Hoffmann, Nicole Suthor, (Studies in Honor of Gerhard Wolf). Florence: Kunsthistorisches Institut-Max Planck, 2012, pp. 465-481. Print.

“In one of the essays of his On n’y voit rien, the French art historian Daniel Arasse begins with the exclamation: »Les Ménines! Encore? Non! Non! Par pitié. Ça suffit avec Les Ménines!«.1 The present essay could begin with: »The mass of Saint Gregory! Once again? No, please! Everything has been said about this piece«. And yet, because an artwork is by definition inexhaustible, we can look at it anew. As Arasse puts it: »Rien à faire, il faut que tu y reviennes«; that is to say, »nothing to do, you must go back to it«….”

Last Updated 3 years ago