Hernan Cortes


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 around 1520. 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.)

Date Made: ca 1795

Depicted: Cortes, HernanOriginal Artist: Carnicero, D. A.Graphic Artist: Carmona, D. J. A.

Description (Spanish): Este grabado representa a Hernán Cortés (1485-1547), el capitán español que encabezó la conquista del Imperio Azteca. Desde que Cortés arribó a México en 1521 pasó a formar parte de la mitología popular. Había pasado algún tiempo en Cuba involucrado en la matanza y esclavización de los nativos y administrando la nueva estructura social de las colonias españolas del Caribe. Como lo atestiguan sus bien documentadas memorias, ni siquiera sus experiencias en Cuba lo prepararon para las decisivas intrigas, batallas y choques culturales entre españoles y mexicanos, mayas y otros pueblos vecinos. Motivado por el antiguo concepto de fama, Hernán Cortés escribió una versión propia de la conquista de México que lo situó manifiestamente en el centro de la historia, favorecido por el Dios cristiano. Sin embargo, ni sus victorias ni el saqueo de la capital mexicana hubieran sido posibles sin la ayuda de los soldados, esclavos y aprovisionamiento suplidos por los enemigos de los aztecas. Como testamento de la fama perdurable de Cortés, este retrato suyo del pintor español Antonio Carnicero se publicó como un grabado de Manuel Salvador y Carmona en 1791, en el libro <i>Retratos de los Españoles Ilustres, con un Epítome de sus Vidas</i>.Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: Spain: Comunidad de Madrid, Madrid

Subject: Latino, Native Americans

See more items in: Work and Industry: Graphic Arts, Cultures & Communities, Military, Mexican America, Art


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Colonel and Mrs. Robert P. Hare III

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: GA.20683Catalog Number: 20683Accession Number: 226630

Object Name: printObject Type: EngravingOther Terms: print; Intaglio; Engraving

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

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a5-f39a-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_788684

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