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Emblems of virtue in eighteenth-century new Spain

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines Van Veen's emblems and their use on the biombos within a more specific historical and social context. Focusing primarily on a screen in the collection of the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond, Virginia, the author argues that as vehicles for the dissemination of carefully selected moralizing emblems, these pictorial biombos participated in a highly gendered discourse about ideal conduct and subjectivity that was prominent within a sector of society in eighteenth-century New Spain. The allegorical figure of Virtue is compositionally de-emphasized in the seventeenth emblem from the Theatro moral and subsequently in the corresponding section of the Richmond screen, but the Virtue is given greater compositional prominence on some of the biombo's other leaves.

Keywords: Richmond screen; Theatro moral; Van Veen's emblems; Virtue



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