In the nave of the main Jesuit church in Cuzco, Peru, a painting documents a pair of elite marriages--one between don Martín de Loyola and doña Beatriz Nusta, and the other between don Juan de Borja and doña Lorenza Nusta de Loyala. Inscribed with the text excerpted here, this painting registers how the last of Inka royalty and Spanish grandees connected to the Jesuit order were united through the Christian institution of marriage. While the painting is one of many on this same subject, its placement in Cuzco, the site of the pre-Hispanic Inka capital, suggests its message of the bond between the Inka royal house and the Jesuit order was intended for the indigenous elite who remained a potent force in the highland city.
Visual Culture
This inscription is written in a cartouche of a painting still visible in La Compañia in Cuzco. This church and a similar painting (entitled "Union of the Inka Royal Family with the Houses of Loyola and Borgia") are included in the Vistas gallery. But the text and the image each convey slightly different messages. While the painting emphasizes the acculturation of doña Lorenza Ñusta de Loyola, who wears a Spanish gown of tailored brocade and has white skin, the text emphasizes the political prominence of the two Spanish grooms, and the social rank of their descendants. The text does not point out that these descendants, with native Andean and Spanish forebears, were mestizos; normally, a mestizo family could never rise to the high rank that this one did. Instead, the text makes clear that royal indigenous blood does little to compromise the purity of blood and noble aspirations of a Spanish family.

See an image of La Compañia and a painting of the marriage in the Vistas Gallery.

Library > 16th Century    > 17th Century    > 18th Century