History
This satirical poem was written by a Guayaquil–born Jesuit, Juan Bautista Aguirre, S.J. (1725–1786) in a letter to his brother–in–law, don Jerónimo Mendiola, and shows how visual events found their way into other art forms. In the poem, he lampoons the public piety shown by Quiteños in their religious processions. While most records of religious processions–paintings, or published accounts–are respectful in their tone, this poem, written as a piece of private correspondence, gives a different insight into the reactions of contemporary audiences. The poet even uses form ironically, for this poem echoes the structure of published poems that would celebrate such processions.
Visual Culture
In satirizing the hypocrisy of Quiteños, as they made public gestures of insincere piety, the poet Juan Bautista Aguirre, S.J. brings out a central concern about visual culture in Spanish America-its potential for falsity. Vision was perceived to be the sense most easily deceived, and in this excerpt, Aguirre offers a paradox: Guayaquil is shown as a chosen city by virtue of its appearance in the opening lines of the poem, while further on, appearances are rejected as indicators of inner states.







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