Antonio Vilca: Our Lady of the Rosary (1769-1778).

(Banco de Crédito del Perú, Lima, Peru)

A painting by the Peruvian artist Antonio Vilca (active 1768 - 1803). This piece is an example of the so-called 'Cuzco school', a major catholic artistic movement spanning nearly three centuries in colonial Spanish America (the movement is named after the city Cuzco in Peru, the old capitol of the Inca empire). The paintings of this movement are religious and at first intended to be didactic, hoping to convert the Incas to Catholicism. This piece shows Our Lady of the Rosary, a title given to the virgin Mary in relation to the rosary. In each corner sits 1 of the 4 evangelists, each with his own symbol: Matthew with an angel, Mark with a winged lion, Luke with a winged ox and John with an eagle. Mary herself is shown at the top of a red flower with a serpent and a Cresent moon (this signifies Mary's glory and victory over time, space and sin). Mary is crowned by angels as queen of the Heaven. Next to her are saint Jozef (left) and Saint Gertrude 'the great' of Helfta (right), patroness of Peru and the West Indies. Around Mary are 15 discs. These are the 15 mysteries of the rosary:

The 5 joyful mysteries:
The Annunciation
The Visitation
The Nativity
The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple
The Finding of Jesus in the Temple

The 5 sorrowful mysteries:
The Agony in the Garden
The Scourging at the Pillar
The Crowning with Thorns
The Carrying of the Cross
The Crucifixion and Death of our Lord

The 5 glorious mysteries:
The Resurrection of Christ
The Ascension
The Descent of the Holy Spirit
The Assumption of Mary
The Coronation of the Virgin

Painting from 1769-1778