In 1618 and 1626, the Castilian Cortes, supported by the Spanish Crown, named Spaniard St. Teresa of Ávila as Spain’s co-patron saint. This declaration, supported by many cities in the empire, including Ávila, Salamanca, Valladolid, and Mexico City, was still opposed by many who saw this as an insult to the standing patron, St. James, called Santiago in Spanish. Historians have studied this period because it helps explain social, cultural, and political conflicts within the empire. However, the art of this period has not been studied in depth. This thesis examines the artistic production related to the so-called co-patronage, including Spanish altarpieces, engravings, and paintings representing Teresa as co-patron, as well as a series of paintings completed in Mexico celebrating her elevation to sainthood. This study reveals how the visual culture confirmed and challenged arguments for and against Teresa’s elevation on both sides of the Atlantic. This thesis reveals how the artistic production was deeply intertwined with spiritual and political conflicts defining the trajectory of an empire in crisis.
Dr. Adam Jasienski
Dr. Amy Freund
Dr. Adam Herring
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Martin, Laura, "The Art of Patron Sainthood: St. Teresa, Santiago, and the Early Modern Spanish Empire" (2023). Art History Theses and Dissertations. 20.