The Pennsylvania State University
Cover for the book The Art of Allegiance

The Art of Allegiance

Visual Culture and Imperial Power in Baroque New Spain Michael Schreffler
  • Copyright: 2007
  • Dimensions: 9 x 10
  • Page Count: 208 pages
  • Illustrations: 24 color/39 b&w illustrations
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-271-02983-2
“The book is nicely illustrated; several of the visuals—some well known, others, lesser known—are delightfully incorporated into the study.”
“[This] handsome volume contains full source notes, an ample bibliography, and a wealth of illustrations. . . . Schreffler’s careful scholarship and well-written and persuasive text make the book a necessity for scholars and libraries dealing with colonial Spanish America.”

The Art of Allegiance explores the ways in which Spanish imperial authority was manifested in a compelling system of representation for the subjects of New Spain during the seventeenth century. Michael Schreffler identifies and analyzes a corpus of “source” material—paintings, maps, buildings, and texts—produced in and around Mexico City that addresses themes of kingly presence and authority as well as obedience, loyalty, and allegiance to the crown.

The Art of Allegiance opens with a discussion of the royal palace in Mexico City, now destroyed but known through a number of images, and then moves on to consider its interior decoration, particularly the Hall of Royal Accord and the numerous portraits of royalty and government officials displayed in the palace. Subsequent chapters examine images in which the conquest of Mexico is depicted, maps showing New Spain’s relationship to Spain and the larger world, and the restructuring of space in and through imperial rule. Although the book focuses on material from the reign of Charles II (1665–1700), it sheds light on the wider development of cultural politics in the Spanish colonial world.

Michael Schreffler is Associate Professor of Art History at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is co-editor of Fritz Scholder: Thirty Years of Sculpture (1994).


List of Illustrations



1. The Royal Palace and the Loyal City

2. The Architecture of Succession

3. The King’s Two Bodies Reconsidered

4. Allegiance, History, and Commodity

5. Shaping the Universal Monarchy

Conclusion: Empire and Enclosure

Appendix: Description of the Royal Palace in Mexico City from Isidro de Sariñana y Cuenca’s Llanto del Occidente, 1666.




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