Hernan Cortes

Description
This engraving shows Hernán Cortés (1485–1547), the Spanish captain who headed the conquest of the Aztec Empire. He became a part of popular mythology the moment he arrived in Mexico in 1521. Cortés had spent time in Cuba killing and enslaving its indigenous inhabitants and administering the new social order of the Spanish colonies of the Caribbean. As his well-read memoirs attest, even his experiences in Cuba did not prepare him for the history-altering intrigues, battles, and cultural encounters between the Spanish and the Mexicans, Mayas, and their many neighbors in between. Motivated by an ancient notion of fame, Hernán Cortés wrote his own version of the conquest of Mexico that put him squarely at the center, favored by the Christian God. But neither his victories nor his pillage of the Mexican capital would have been possible without the aid of soldiers, slaves, and supplies from the enemies of the Aztecs. As a testament to Cortés's enduring fame, his portrait by the Spanish painter Antonio Carnicero was published as an engraving by Manuel Salvador y Carmona in 1791 in the book, Retratos de los españoles ilustres, con un epítome de sus vidas, (Portraits of Illustrious Spaniards, with a Synopsis of Their Lives.)
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
print
Object Type
Engraving
Date made
ca 1795
depicted
Cortes, Hernan
original artist
Carnicero, D. A.
graphic artist
Carmona, D. J. A.
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 35.9 cm x 22.7 cm; 14 1/8 in x 8 15/16 in
Place Made
España: Comunidad de Madrid, Madrid
ID Number
GA*20683
catalog number
20683
accession number
226630
subject
Cultures & Communities
Art
Military
Latino
Native Americans
Mexican America
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Graphic Arts
Mexican America
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

Submit a comment or ask a question about this object using the form below. Submissions are moderated and may receive a curator response. Please note that we cannot evaluate or appraise your personal artifacts. For other questions or general inquiries please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.