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Patron of the Arts - The Catholic Church: Virgin of Guadalupe

Virgin of Guadalupe

Agustin del Pino
Oil and lacquer on wood
mother-of-pearl inlay
New Spain
Early eighteenth century
74 x 54 cm

This mother-of-pearl encrusted art work was created to be used as an object of worship in the Catholic Church. It is signed by the artist Agustin del Pino although his name is partially obscured by the decorative frame.


The virgin Mary was an object of veneration in the Catholic Church. The church was an important patron of the arts so many of the works of art created in New Spain were created to be used in religious observances in the Catholic Church.

Technique or Process

This work was created on a panel of wood. The face and hands of Mary are painted in oil on the wood while her gown glows with inlaid mother-of-pearl. The frame for the work is wood with inlaid mother-of pearl forming the fruit and flowers that decorate it. The entire piece, the painting and the frame has then been coated in lacquer.

Cultural Roots

Mother-of-pearl encrusted artwork was popular in Mexico and had its roots in the lacquering techniques of the Pre-Columbians.

Lesson Plans
Visual Arts Lesson: Self portrait with decorative frame
Extension Activities

Math: Translate centimeters into inches and cut a sheet of paper the exact size of this work. Use that paper to complete the art assignment.

Language Arts: After completing the selfportrait art lesson, write a one page autobiography of yourself to be displayed with your artwork.

Social Studies: Find the area of the world where this work of art was created and determine what the longitude and climate conditions are in that part of the world. What type of lumber would grow there? Where would the mother-of-pearl come from?

Determine which types of trees grow in the climate and location where this work of art was produced. Research to determine what type of tree the wood used in this work came from.


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