Cabrera, Miguel (1695–1768)

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Cabrera, Miguel (1695–1768)

Miguel Cabrera (b. 1695; d. 16 May 1768), Mexican painter. Although doubts exist about the authenticity of the document that gives his birth date and nothing is known about his training, Cabrera's will makes it clear that he was a native of Oaxaca. It is believed that by 1719 Cabrera was in Mexico City, where he became the most important painter of his day. With other artists he attempted to found an academy in Mexico City in 1753, and in 1756 he published Maravilla americana, an account of his examination of the original image of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Among his many works, those for the Jesuits are outstanding in number and quality; but he had numerous other important patrons, including the archbishop of Mexico City and the miner José de la Borda in Taxco. His paintings display a sense of ample space and often brilliant, light coloring. Sweetness of expression is a hallmark of his religious figures, whose repetitive portrayal was much appreciated in his time and in the nineteenth century, but has occasioned twentieth-century criticism. Cabrera's reputation has also suffered because of the disparate quality of many paintings signed by or attributed to him, a number of them executed in what must have been a large workshop. He is also known for his portraits and for an extraordinary series of casta paintings, depictions of the mixed races that peopled New Spain.

See alsoArt: The Colonial Era .


Abelardo Carrillo y Gariel, El pintor Miguel Cabrera (1966).

María Concepción García Saiz, La pintura colonial en el Museo de América, vol. 1 (1980).

Additional Bibliography

Carrera, Magali Marie. Imagining Identity in New Spain: Race, Lineage, and the Colonial Body in Portraiture and Casta Paintings. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2003.

Katzew, Ilona. Casta Painting: Images of Race in Eighteenth-Century Mexico. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2004.

Martí Cotarelo, Mónica, and Dolores Dahlhaus. Miguel Cabrera: un pintor de su tiempo. México, D.F.: Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, Dirección General de Publicaciones, 2002.

Tovar de Teresa, Guillermo. Miguel Cabrera: Pintor de cámara de la reina celestial. México: InverMéxico Grupo Financiero, 1995.

                                      Clara Bargellini

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Cabrera, Miguel (1695–1768)

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