Religion is Art & Can be a Phenomenon


One thing with religion is that we all believe in different things we all may not agree in our beliefs but all share a common interest, we are all children of our creator. Growing up, I was raised catholic and many of my beliefs were towards my Lady of Guadalupe. There is a story behind my name, my mother could not bear children and when she did, she had four miscarriages, till I came along she made a prayer towards the lady of a miracle to bear this child. So the miracle was completed on February 23, 1993, to show gratitude to the lady it is a tradition that after a miracle has been completed you are to traveled to Mexico City, Federal District and crawl on your knees into the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Inside the famous church holds the most tremendous painting of our Virgin Guadalupe. Most of you guys are wondering to why do people do this sort of tradition, the reason lies within the painting. There is a true historical story that consists of a miraculous miracle as well, of how this painting became created and it goes like this, in the time where the spain had taken over, an Aztec man by the name of Juan Diego was walking along till he had seen the vision of the beautiful lady of Guadalupe (most like the angel Gabriel visiting Mary) had ask him for a church in her name. Juan immediately went to tell the bishop of what he had encountered and the bishop had not granted him the wish the lady had wanted. It later took two more times, but what was different was that Juan’s uncle was ill and was told to not be afraid for he was in the hands of the virgin Guadalupe and he shall not be harm. The third time they had met, she had ask Juan to gather the most beautiful flowers and bring them to the bishop. When Juan appeared to the bishop he open his opened the tilma letting the flowers fall out. But it wasn’t the beautiful roses that caused the bishop and his advisors to fall to their knees; for there, on the tilma, was a picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This story became famous because that picture of the Virgen is the Tilima (more like a pancho)


Yes it is a type of clothing, and the picture looked to have been painted but in reality it is unknown this is what make this artwork much appreciated in the Mexican culture. And more when it is this exact tilma that is in the church today. In a secure website called Catholic Online it goes more into detail and in the last paragraph explains the experiences the picture has gone through.

“Since the time the tilma was first impressed with a picture of the Mother of God, it has been subject to a variety of environmental hazards including smoke from fires and candles, water from floods and torrential downpours and, in 1921, a bomb which was planted by anti-clerical forces on an altar under it. There was also a cast-iron cross next to the tilma and when the bomb exploded, the cross was twisted out of shape, the marble altar rail was heavily damaged and the tilma was…untouched! Indeed, no one was injured in the Church despite the damage that occurred to a large part of the altar structure.”

After doing research over the painting it came to my attention that as much as it is appreciated in the art world for it complex of colors, interesting style, more on its balance of contrast towards the light and shading; it given more credit in the science field! Here is the clip I came across and it shall blow your mind.


My questions to you are:

  • Is this consider art to you knowing that it had no artist? If so why and show examples of how it is considered art?
  • If you had ever read of the Da Vinci Code or seen the movie did you thought of that when you read the story of Guadalupe and its meaning behind the historical context?
  • Most people belive that the story can be fake and there was a real artist behind this painting and that this story is only to attract publicity (much like how most argued about the Da Vinci Code) Do you believe this is true? Even after watching the clip on youtube?

Guadalupe Medina–extra credit blog post


8 thoughts on “Religion is Art & Can be a Phenomenon

  1. I like to believe these stories are true. It gives us all something to believe in. Fake or not fake it seems like this painting has done good for the people and the church its in. I have also heard of similar story when I was in Italy. I was in the the deep south of Italy and my cousins took us to a famous church. In this church contained a large stone that had been split in half. When the stone was split it reveled a picture of the Virgin Mary.

  2. Religious art is so powerful. It was very interesting to see the story behind your namesake. It reminds me of a church I saw in Costa Rica. To quote wikipedia :”Many pilgrims come to Cartago annually, to visit the nation’s principal church, the enormous Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles, on the feast day of the Virgin of the Angels (August 2). The church has a statue of the Black Madonna known as La Negrita, who supposedly had great healing powers. The sick come to her statue in hope of a miracle from La Negrita.” check it out for yourself:

    According to folklore in Costa Rica, the statue was found by an indigenous girl in 1635. She brought it home several times, but it mysteriously reappeared at its original site. The rock where she found it is now kept in a backroom in the basilica and is revered as a sacred relic and object of inspiration. The rock is supposed to be in the same location it was when La Negrita was found, but it has been moved as the basilica was rebuilt (see below). It is common for pilgrims to touch the rock in reverence.

  3. So informative Lupe, thank you. I did not know any of this about the image and its origins. After watching the video you posted I would say that it is art. As to who the artist is, I could not say but, I would point to the many forms on natural art found in nature such as rock formations, trees, clouds, etc. Who or what created the imagery found in nature? I would not believe that it is a fake because of the scientific evidence. There were many good points brought up in this video and a few more in other videos that were linked to your post. People will believe what they want and if this image inspires the spirit of any individual all the better.

  4. Very interesting post Guadalupe. This is the first time I have ever heard the story you explained in your post. It reminds me of the images of the Virgin Mary found in people’s food. I don’t think there needs to be an artist to consider something art. Like John said, there is a lot of naturally formed art in nature. There will always be skeptics that believe these things are fake. The only beliefs that matter are your own.

  5. I grew up in a catholic home and went to a catholic middle school. I have heard this story plenty of times. I do think its art weather it was natural or man made.

  6. I also think art is either man made or natural. The Earth is natures artist. And as for the picture who knows who the artist really is. All I can do is appreciate it and its beauty

  7. If an artist can capture wonders of natural phenomena and call it art, why can’t something that cannot be explained or lack an artist be art? Art is art regardless of how it came to be, and artist credit is not necessary. Since art is in a constant state of change, this piece remains timeless through art fads and trends and for that reason alone can be considered a masterpiece. In a day when my own faith waivers, having viewed the YouTube link certainly inspires me to rethink my beliefs. Some things are best left unexplained to let the viewer make his own interpretation, and isn’t that the purpose of art?

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