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Virgin of the Apocalypse: Vision of the Sixth Seal

Virgin of the Apocalypse: Vision of the Sixth Seal

18th Century

Wood, gesso, polychormy and gilding

Found in the Infirmary of the Monastery of San Francisco

Quito, Ecuador

(Keleman, P. 1967. vol. II. pl.81c)


This is a small carving of the Virgin standing on a new moon and holding a serpent leashed to a chain. The chain is a cumbersome arrangement of heavy gold links which, according to Keleman (1951, 1967), may have replaced an earlier, simpler one.


This Virgin has many of the same attributes seen earlier -- the wings, the moon, the serpent, the open gesture and the swing back garment responding to a forward tilt to the body the Virgin. Note that although the Virgin's eyes are fixed downward, the full head is tilted back as if moving back preparing to attack.


MOST INTERESTING FEATURE: Note the open gesture of the hand as if she was designed to hold something other than the chain. Her gersture is very much like the open gesture of the Lady of Popayan.


This, and the preceeding image can be identified by reading Revelatiion 10:1-4 which describes an angel "come dowm from heaven having the key to the bottomless pit. And he laid hold of the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him.... and set a seal upon him...."


According to Keleman, these images represent the Virgin of the Sixth Seal which carries the implication that Evil itself will be vanquished and forced to do the will of God.


Published in: Keleman, P. 1951, 1967. Baroque and Rococo in Latin America. vols. I-II. Dover publications: New York.


To read the discussion on the Virgin of the Apocalypse, please go to the group Santos: Images of Faith and browse this discussion thread:


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Taken on February 15, 2010