Having only traveled to Europe to see colonial Latin American art in Spanish collections, the purpose of this trip was to familiarize myself with Mexican collections of colonial art and to hone a potential dissertation topic. During my two-and-a-half weekstay I visited the major art museums and churches in Mexico City and surrounding areas to expand my knowledge of iconographic and stylistic features of colonial art. A visit to the Museo Nacional de Virreinato inTepotzotlán and the Museo de Arte Religioso Ex Convento de Santa Mónica in Puebla dramatically altered the direction of my dissertation topic from the transformation of Marian imagery in the paintings of Juan Correa to artistic representation associated with colonial Mexican convents, particularly monjas muertas paintings and their connection to sensorial experience. I was able to see numerous portraits of deceased nuns, walk through the convent space where their bodies would have been displayed, and experience the sweet fragrance of a church adorned floor to ceiling with fresh flowers, which is reminiscent an esteemed nun’s funeral. These experiences were invaluable to the research for my qualifying paper, which I will submit to the faculty of my department as part of requirements to move to the next stage of my program and will certainly inform directions for my dissertation topic.
September 5, 2012