Subject Area

Art History/Criticism/Conservation, Art, History, Humanities, Humanities


This thesis establishes the connection between painting and performance as crucial for understanding eighteenth-century representations of the historic marriage of the Inca ñusta (princess) Beatriz Clara Sairitupac and her Spanish husband Martín García Óñez de Loyola. During the eighteenth-century, the marriage was repeatedly commemorated through both paint and theatrical performance as part of the mythologization of the early history of the Viceroyalty of Peru. My study addresses the only two paintings known to remain in their original locations: the Compañía de Jesús in Cuzco and the Beaterio de Nuestra Señora de Copacabana in Lima. I analyze both paintings in conjunction with corresponding theatrical performances to demonstrate how representations of the historic marriage drew audiences into a dynamic and forceful partnership with an idealized view of history.

The first painting and performance were commissioned by the Jesuit order in Cuzco, the former capital of the Inca empire. In contrast, the painting and performance in Lima were commissioned by indigenous nobles in the viceregal capital city dominated by Spanish and criollo society. Both social groups, the Jesuits in Cuzco and the indigenous nobility in Lima, claimed to be symbolic heirs of the Inca and Jesuit union. The Jesuits in Cuzco traced their connection to Martín, who was the nephew of San Ignacio de Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus. They represented the marriage as a means to bolster their local authority and management of the land granted to the descendants of Beatriz and Martín. For the indigenous elites in Lima who sought to increase their rights and privileges as nobles, the familial union of Inca and Spaniard symbolized the equality of Spanish and indigenous nobility. They celebrated Beatriz as the last member of the Inca royal line at Vilcabamba and united behind an inclusive interpretation of the Inca as a symbol of pan-indigenous nobility.

Degree Date

Spring 2020

Document Type


Degree Name



Art History


Adam Jasienski

Second Advisor

Amy Freund

Third Advisor

Adam Herring

Number of Pages




Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License