La Virgen del Socorro en Santiago de Chile. Paradojas de su origen, su milagro y su iconografía (siglos xvii -xviii)

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The small-scale image of the Virgin Mary that is known and venerated to this day under the name of "the Virgin of Socorro" [the Virgin of the Helpless] in Santiago (Chile) is also held to be the very first pious image to have landed on this pe-ripheral colonial city. From early on, it inspired a number of legends highlighting its alleged miraculous character, its role in the Foundation of Santiago and the first steps of the Franciscan Friars in the city. This paper delves into the key-paradoxes surrounding the image's supernatural origins and very common upon sacred Christian images: on the one hand, it was offered as a gift to reward the miraculous intervention of the Virgin Mary in the midst of a battle against the Indi-ans; on the other, some sources suggest that the image itself performed the supernatural feat. The image concentrates a host of key-features that are discussed below: (i) it helped shape a new imagery that came to define the Christian practice in these regions; (ii) it exemplifies the gradual usurpation of an originally Mercedarian topic to the profit of the Franciscan Order; (iii) it summarized the triumph of the Christian faith over the native rebel populations of Chile's central region; (iv) and it was also coopted as the preferred devotion by the political elites. The paper concludes by advancing a hypoth-esis about the image's iconography, which may stem from the appropriation of an alien typology (Saint Mary Magdalene), due to the scarcity of pious images in these peripheral regions.

Original languageSpanish
Pages (from-to)109-138
Number of pages30
JournalHistoria (Chile)
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

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