Saint Gertrude (Santa Gertrudis)
Miguel Cabrera ( Mexican, 1695 - 1768 )
Saint Gertrude the Great (1256–1301 or 1302) was a German Benedictine nun from the monastery at Helfta, near Saxony. A prolific mystic writer, she is particularly known for her Spiritual Exercises, which interpret the Seven Sacraments. Miguel Cabrera depicts the saint in reflection, with her writing tools to her right and a devotional book—possibly her own work—in front of her. He emphasizes the loveliness of the saint’s face, indicating the influence of the Spanish painter Bartolomeo Esteban Murillo, who was acclaimed for the sweetness of his portrayals of the virgin and saints. Of particular importance in the composition is the image of the Sacred Heart, the symbol of Christ’s love for humanity that prompted sacrifice, redemption of sin, and mercy to sinners. One of the greatest 18th-century Mexican painters, Miguel Cabrera was a renowned, in-demand artist whose output was legendary: over 309 works have been documented from his large studio. He also became one of the leading instructors and sustainers of a private academy of painting in Mexico City.