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Nicolás Rodríguez Juarez [Xuarez]
Mexican, 1667-1734

SN 353, Oil on canvas, 1699

From: "The Pages"


Luis Juarez was the founder of this dynastic family of colonial painters. He settled in Mexico in the early 17th c. His son José, also a painter, had a daughter Antonia, who married another painter, Antonio Rodríguez. Both of their sons, Nicolás and Juan, continued the family work, representing a traditional style and helping to establish the supremacy of draftsmanship after a period when the importance of color had reigned supreme.

Already a master painter in 1688, Nicolás Rodriguez Juarez produced some of his most interesting works at the end of the 17th c. He is best known for having provided many altarpieces to the Mexico City Cathedral in the 1690s. After the death of his wife, Nicolás became a priest. He died in 1734.

As accurately described by the title, the painting presents the Holy Family attended by two saints, Saint Anne, the mother of Mary, and Saint Joachim, her father.

Anne and Joachim were an elderly couple of the royal house of David who had yearned in vain for children. Finally the archangel Gabriel announced (to each of them separately) the coming birth of a daughter, Mary. (This event, sometimes confused with the Annunciation to Mary, is interpreted as a forecast of the Virgin Birth of Christ.) The immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary is a major devotional theme, officially accepted by the Catholic Church in 1854,

In the New World, we see a new attitude. Mary is not seated on a throne; instead, she sits in a Spanish style chair, with a leather back secured by brass tacks. Joseph leans over her protectively, while the Baby Jesus is depicted in a very human circumstance - squirming in his Mother’s lap, trying to reach his grandmother, who reaches out to catch him.

Art played an important role in the Spanish colonization of South and Central America. The need for paintings to decorate the many newly-built churches and monasteries resulted in the migration to America of many Spanish-trained artists. They not only founded hugely productive workshops, but also professional academies and artistic dynasties.

Museum Label:
Artist: Nicolás Rodríguez Juarez
Mexican, 1667-1734, active in Mexico City
The Holy Family with Saints Anne and Joachim
Date: 1699
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 86 1/4 x 77 3/4 in. (219.1 x 197.5 cm)
Credit Line: Bequest of John Ringling, 1936
Object Number: SN353