Miraculous Crucifixes and the Construction of Mexican Colonialism: The Artistic, Devotional, and Political Lives of Mexico City’s Early-Colonial Cristos


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Art History and Latin American Studies


Life-sized crucifixes created in the sixteenth century were among the most powerful and well-known cult statues in colonial Mexico City. Today, however, these miraculous images have been largely forgotten. This dissertation uncovers the history of the most important of the early-colonial Cristos. It reconstructs the way people viewed, venerated, and manipulated the statues over the course of the colonial period, and traces their evolution from anonymous instruments of evangelization into powerful personas around which individuals and groups negotiated their place in society. This research enriches our understanding of Mexico’s artistic and social history, and demonstrates the capacity of art to implement and maintain colonialism in Latin America and around the world.