Danza de los SantiagosArtist(s)Carlos MéridaArtist NationalityGuatemalanObject Creation Datecirca 1937-1939Medium & Supportlithograph on paperDimensions
16 7/8 in x 12 1/2 in (42.86 cm x 31.75 cm)Credit LineMuseum PurchaseSubject matter
This is one of a series of ten prints that depict the traditional dances of México. Mérida was the co-founder of the dance school for the Secretariat of Education (Escuela de la Danza de la Secretaría de Educación Pública), which worked to preserve the native dances of the region. In addition to this set, at this time, he produced a number of series that cataloged the popular arts and industries of Mexico and his native Guatemala.
This print depicts the "Danza de los Santiagos." Santiago is the Christian saint, James the Apostle. The dance originated on the Iberian Peninsula in the twelfth century during a time of constant warfare when there was a push by the Spanish Christian population to displace the Muslim Moors who had conquered the peninsula in the preceding centuries. The dance was brought to Mexico in the sixteenth century with the Conquistadors, where it became a traditional dance in the state of Puebla. The dance shows the fight between the Christians with the Saint—who lead the mission to the Iberian Penninsula after the death of Jesus Christ—and the Iberian Muslims or "Moors" with Pontius Pilate—Prefect of Jerusalem 26-36CE; Pilate Moorish guards are depicted in this print. The ancient and medieval timelines are overlapped to reinforce the triumph of Christianity both over Pilate and over the Moorish infidels. In Mexico, it has an added layer with the triumph of Christianity over the pagan tradition of the native peoples.Physical Description
Centered in the page on this print are two dark-skinned figures wearing pink-skinned masks. They are both dressed identically in white shirts and tights, with black boots, matching black knickers, and capes trimmed in gold. Each figure holds a small circular shield in one hand and a sword in the other—both in white. Both seem to be leaping in the air.Primary Object ClassificationPrintCollection AreaModern and ContemporaryRights
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modern and contemporary art