The artist never signed his masterpiece Apparition of the Virgin to the Oyacachi and when it was completed in 1800, this religious work was placed inside the parish of El Quinche, in Quito, Ecuador where it remained for centuries.
Painted with oil on canvass and depicting 33 scenes of the devotion to Our Lady of Oyacachi, in 2012, this relic of colonial art was acquired by the Banco de la República in terrible condition, its handwoven canvas torn, original pigmentation faded and imagery stained by decay.
For the next eight years, the painting underwent a careful process of restoration that involved cleaning layers of dirt, reinforcing the veil and matching the pigments to those used by 19th Century artists.
Last week, fine art conservationists Maritza Vela, Yaneth Molina and Patricia Espinosa handed-over the masterpiece in order for it to join the permanent collection in room 12 of the Miguel Urrutia Art Museum – MAMU – and to be appreciated by audiences as a representation of the late Quito School of Art.
The Virgin of the Quinche, known as “Patroness and Protector,” celebrates her feast day every June 20 and the shrine that inspired this work continues to draw pilgrims in search of miracles.
Museo de Arte Miguel Urrutia – MAMU: Calle 11 No.4-24.