A highly idiosyncratic art form from late viceregal New Spain, these large-scale paintings are pre-"profession" portraits of novices made shortly before they took their final vows; in reality, these are marriage portraits of the "brides of Christ". Apparently unique to Mexico, and most dating to the second half of the eighteenth century, they were commissioned by the young ladies' families as a mark of social and economic status; in this milieu, the young women were all from wealthy and socially prominent families. The underlying habits of the monjas coronadas, or crowned nuns, are often quite lavished accessorized, and the figures are usually adorned with symbolic and religious objects and talismans. In most cases there is text - relevant dates, information about the young woman and her family's position - included in the composition. This leyenda is most often found as a band at the bottom of the painting.
|Unlike the rather generalized profession portraits, these seem much more particular and lifelike. ("Deadlike"?)|
|One of the more unusual examples that shows the deceased still alive.|