Museum of Spanish Colonial Arts Showcases 18th Century Santero and Cartographer

Editor | - July 3, 2013

Legacy of Don Bernardo Miera y Pacheco explored in lectures, booksignings

To celebrate the 300th anniversary of the birth of Don Bernardo Miera y Pacheco, the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art is hosting two lectures about this traveling Spaniard who became New Mexico’s pre-eminent 18th century santero and cartographer. Born in Cantabria, Spain, in 1713, Miera y Pacheco journeyed to New Spain, lived for a time in Janos and El Paso del Norte, before coming to Santa Fe in 1754. Once here, he took on numerous positions as merchant, debt collector, military officer and rancher, in addition to becoming a painter and sculptor. His work can still be found in several colonial churches and in Museum collections—and his masterpiece, the Castrense altar screen, now stands in the Church of Cristo Rey in Santa Fe. He accompanied the Domínguez-Escalante expedition to the Great Basin in 1776 as the expedition’s cartographer, and was the first person to map the Continental Divide based on first-hand experience.

The first lecture will be given by Albuquerque art and religion historian Felipe Mirabal, and is entitled: “Don Bernardo de Miera y Pacheco and the Construction of the Capilla Castrense, Santa Fe.” The second presentation will be given by John L. Kessell, author of numerous books on the history of New Mexico and the Spanish Southwest and, most recently, of a newly released publication on the life of Don Bernardo, Miera y Pacheco: A Renaissance Spaniard in Eighteenth-Century New Mexico. Kessell’s lecture will move on from the construction of the Capilla Castrense to Miera’s journey as a cartographer on the Domíngeuz-Escalante expedition: “In 1776,” states Kessell, “the creator of the Castrense altar screen

Monday, July 22nd, 2 p.m.

Lecture: Felipe Mirabal on “Don Bernardo de Miera y Pacheco and the Construction of the Capilla Castrense in Santa Fe.”
The Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, 750 Camino Lejo

Sunday, August 4th, 3 p.m.
Lecture and Booksigning: John L. Kessell on “Miera y Pacheco: Dominguez and Escalante's Unruly Cartographer”The author will also be available to sign copies of his just released biography of Miera y Pacheco entitled: Miera y Pacheco: a Renaissance Spaniard in Eighteenth-Century New Mexico. The book will be available in the museum bookstore. The Museum of Spanish Colonial Art 750 Camino Lejo went on a four-month, 1,500-mile vision quest with two Franciscans. And although a superb map resulted from their exploration, relations between the two friars and their cartographer were often strained.”

Free to members; $10.00 for non-members.
Seating is limited. Reservations suggested.
Please come 15 minutes prior to the lecture or your reservation will be released.


Image: National Park Service