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Miguel Cabrera

 (1695 - 1768)
Miguel Cabrera was active/lived in Mexico.  Miguel Cabrera is known for Baroque religious painting.

Miguel Cabrera

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Miguel Cabrera
Miguel Mateo Maldonado y Cabrera (1695-1768) was an indigenous Zapotec painter during the Vice Royalty of New Spain, today's Mexico. During his lifetime, he was recognized as the greatest painter in all of New Spain.

He was born in Antequera, today's Oaxaca, Oaxaca, and moved to Mexico City in 1719. He may have studied under the Rodríguez Juárez brothers or José de Ibarra.

Cabrera was a favorite painter of the Archbishop and of the Jesuit order, which earned him many commissions. His work was influenced by Bartolomé Estéban Murillo and the French painting of his time.

While Miguel is most famous for his Casta paintings and his portrait of the poet Sor Juana, he also executed one of the first portraits of St. Juan Diego. In 1752 he was permitted access to the icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe to make three copies: one for Archbishop José Manuel Rubio y Salinas, one for the Pope, and a third to use as a model for further copies. In 1756 he created an important early study of the icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Maravilla americana y conjunto de raras maravillas observadas con la dirección de las reglas del arte de la pintura ("American marvel and ensemble of rare wonders observed with the direction of the rules of the art of painting", often referred to in English simply as American Marvel).

The essential purpose of Maravilla Americana was to affirm the 1666 opinions of the witnesses who swore that the image of the Virgin was of a miraculous nature. However, he also elaborated a novel opinion: the image was crafted with a unique variety of techniques. He contended that the Virgin's face and hands were painted in oil paint, while her tunic, mandorla, and the cherub at her feet were all painted in egg tempera. Finally, her mantle was executed in gouache. He observed that the golden rays emanating from the Virgin seemed to be of dust that was woven into the very fabric of the canvas, which he asserted was of "a coarse weave of certain threads which we vulgarly call pita," a cloth woven from palm fibers.

In 1753, he founded the second Academy of Painting in Mexico City and served as its director.

Most of the rest of his works are also religious in nature, although as the official painter of the Archbishop of Mexico, Cabrera painted his and other portraits.

In the 19th century, the writer José Bernardo Couto called him "the personification of the great artist and of the painter par excellence; and a century after his death the supremacy which he knew how to merit remains intact." His remains are interred at the Church of Santa Inés in Mexico City.


Biography from the Archives of askART
Biography photo for Miguel Cabrera
Born in Tlalixtac in the state of Oaxaca, Miguel Cabrera is considered one of Mexico's greatest artist's of Baroque era.  In 1719 Cabrera began his training in painting and shortly thereafter moved to Mexico City.

It is unknown exactly who taught Cabrera, but other masters like Cristóbal Villalpando and Juan de Correa were still alive during his formative years.

In 1756 he published a treatise on the portrayal of the Virgen de Guadalupe.

Miguel Cabrera was a prolific artist and spent most of his career painting religious images.

Cabrera founded the Academia de Pintores de la Ciudad de México in 1753. Source:


Biography from La Suite Subastas
Miguel Cabrera was born in 1695, in Tlalixtac, Oaxaca, Mexico. Little is known about Miguel's youth. He is first documented in 1739, the year of his marriage to Ana Maria Solano. It is known too that Miguel installed himself in Juan Correa's workshop in the Mexican capital. The Archbishop Rubio Salinas, was Miguel Cabrera's protector and named him as his official painter. Miguel was also the painter to the Society of Jesus, and he painted numerous works of art for their churches. Miguel Cabrera's work can be found in many Mexican churches and convents. Two of his images of the Virgin of Guadalupe are in the Vatican Museum. Another painted in 1756, for the temple of Saint Francis Xavier, is kept at the Museo Nacional del Virreinato in Mexico. Considered as one of the most renowned painters in the new Hispanic world, Miguel Cabrera died in 1768, in Mexico City.

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About  Miguel Cabrera

Born:  1695 - Tlalixtac, Oaxaca
Died:   1768 - Mexico City
Known for:  Baroque religious painting