Modalities Of Representation: Symbol And Narrative In 16th-century Murals At The Convent Of Izamal, Yucatán

Linda K. Williams, University of Puget Sound


This article examines the artistic elements present in the Mission of Izamal in Yucatán, Mexico. The author gives particular focus to the symbolic and narrative aspects of the mural paintings on the walls of the convent, which depict religious scenes within a natural landscape. She provides a brief history of the design and construction of the mission and its artwork, which date from the 16th century. A symbolic and literal interpretation of the mural paintings is provided, which include themes of idolatry, the miracle-working of the Virgin Mary, and a utopian vision of the world. The role of the mission as a center for religious evangelism is also explored.