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 Luis De Texeda  (1604 - 1680)

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Lived/Active: Mexico      Known for: Virgin of Guadalupe painting

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Virgen De Guadalupe
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Luis De Texeda, a 17th Century Spanish artist, was known for his painting, Virgin of Guadalupe.  Following is information about De Texeda by Daniel J. Castellano as part of his online writing, Historiography of the Apparition Guadalupe, Part XII

Another canvas, kept at the Convento del Desierto, Tenancingo (southwest of Mexico, 40 km from Toluca), bears the signature of “D. Luis detexeda” and the apparent date of 1632. In Chapter V of Manuel Toussaint’s book, Pintura colonial en México [posthumous 1965 edition of Arte colonial en México (1948)], an annotation by Xavier Moyssen deduces from this date that Luís de Texeda was a contemporary of the Spanish painter Nicolás de Texeda, who arrived in New Spain in the mid-sixteenth century, and may have been a relative. Yet we know from other sources that a Luís Detegeda of indigenous ancestry was renowned for his highly skilled replicas of the Guadalupe icon. Elisa Vargas Lugo finds that, on closer inspection, the “3” in the date is a partially erased “8,” so that the correct date is 1682, consistent with Luis de Texeda’s known period of activity. [Elisa Vargaslugo, "El indio que tenía el 'don'..." Anales del Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas (2005) 86, pp. 208-209.]

One of the most famous early copies of the Guadalupan icon is possibly the work of Texeda as well. In the Church of San Stefano in Aveto, Italy, there is displayed a Guadalupan icon reportedly given to Admiral Giovanni Andrea Doria shortly before the battle of Lepanto (1571). Supposedly, Archbishop Montúfar of Mexico sent painted copies of Our Lady of Guadalupe to King Philip in 1570. The king gave one of these icons (directly or indirectly) to Giovanni Andrea Doria (grandnephew of the more famous Admiral Andrea Doria), who would command a squadron at Lepanto. Accordingly, that miraculous victory against the Turks has been attributed to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin in honor of Admiral Doria’s devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe of Mexico.

While it is by no means incredible that Montúfar, a devout guadalupano, would send such icons to the king, there is reason to believe that this story is apocryphal. Its sole evidentiary basis is the written testimony of the scholar Antonio Domenico Rossi (1788-1861), which was published in redacted form by his descendant of the same name (1866-1915) in 1910, and is still preserved in manuscript. The manuscript, in my literal translation from the Italian, reads:

"Discovered in Genoa in the palace of His Excellency the Lord Prince Doria two images of the Madonna of Guadalupe, one may have been a gift from Holy Excellence the lord Cardinal Giuseppe Doria, and it was that which with all certainty, as is recounted in the archive of that most noble family, had touched the original. It had been donated by His Catholic Majesty the King of Spain to the immortal Andrea Doria, grand admiral of the Spanish, to serve as the icon of the chapels of the principal galleys, which that celebrated captain directed; indeed it would have to be in the very same time as the celebrated battle of Lepanto, in which, by the intercession of Mary, Christendom had a most signal victory over the Turk.

Only the first part of this testimony is well substantiated, while the rest consists of inferences made by Rossi. We may trust that one of the Guadalupan icons found in the Palazzo di Principe in Genoa was donated by Cardinal Giuseppe Doria (1751-1816), third son of Giovanni Andrea Doria IV. Further, this icon had touched the original (a devotional custom with thaumaturgic icons, practiced at Guadalupe since at least the late seventeenth century), so it was likely painted in Mexico. The remainder of the testimony, however, is problematic. Grand admiral Andrea Doria died in 1560, eleven years before the battle of Lepanto. His grandnephew Giovanni Andrea Doria was only a squadron commander at that famous battle. Rossi’s association of the Guadalupan icon with Lepanto is therefore speculative at best. While this victory has always been credited to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, this intercession was sought through a rosary procession in Rome, for which reason Pope St. Pius V afterward instituted the feast day of Our Lady of Victory.

Further investigation has revealed that, while the icon was indeed in the Doria family collection as far back as 1684, it likely does not date to the sixteenth century. A plausible reconstruction of the icon’s provenance is made by Elisa Vargas Lugo in “El indio que tenia ‘el don’...” [Vargaslugo, op. cit., pp. 203-215.] She finds that Violante Lomellini Doria (1632-1708), widow of Andrea III and mother Giovanni Andrea III, wished to acquire a skillful copy of the icon of Guadalupe. This was accomplished on her behalf by a Jesuit priest who visited Mexico in 1675. He found that the Indian painters competed annually among themselves to see who could make the most faithful copy of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and so he sought out the one who received that year’s honor. This was likely Luís de Texeda, whose copies of the Guadalupan icon were widely sought at that time. Indeed, the icon at San Stefano matches Texeda’s style, particularly his choice of flesh tones. Violante’s efforts to obtain a copy at this time would have been pointless if the Doria family had already possessed a Guadalupan icon of illustrious history.

Luís de Texeda made many other painted copies, some of which are still extant. The most well known is that of 1669, which is stored in the Museum of History of Chapultepec, and we have already mentioned that of 1682. Other copies are in private collections; only recently, two life-sized oil paintings, dated 1671 and 1680, were offered at auction.

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