late 18th c.
8.25" x 12"
Painting, Oil on copper Region:
The theme of the Divine Shepherd appears in religious painting much earlier than the Divine Shepherdess iconography, mostly due to the metaphor of Christ as a shepherd appearing in the gospel John. Jesus is called the good shepherd―the one who leads his flock to greener pastures as well as gives rest to the weary soul, and the verse states, "I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep" (John 10:14-15). This small oil on copper is one of a set in which the other painting depicts the Virgin Mary as Divine Shepherdess, also by Andrés López. In this exquisite oil on copper, Christ is shown tending his flock of believers, holding a crook in his right hand and reaching down to caress one of his flock with his left. One of the sheep is kneeling to lick the blood from Christ's wounds made by the nails from the crucifixion.
A true Mexican master, Andrés López began his career in Mexico City where he worked until his death in 1812. His large body of work consists mostly of religious paintings, though he was also known for painting portraits of important governing officials. Coming from a family of painters, both is father and brother were also artists, though never gaining the same level of notoriety. López was one of the founders of the Academia de San Carlos--a painting institute for young artists--and was also one of a number of painters asked by Dr. Ignacio de Bartolache to examen the original image of the Virgen of Guadalupe and endorse the piece. He was trusted to create a copy of this image using the same materials and techniques, although this painting no longer exists. López was among the most important Mexican painters of the eighteenth century, and his works can be found in institutions such as the Museo de la Basílica de Guadalupe and the Museo Nacional del Virreinato.