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El Volcán / Raúl Anguiano

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What does the story of star-crossed lovers have to do with this painting of majestic, erupting volcanoes? Some of the highest volcanoes in Mexico are named after legendary Mexica (Aztec) figures: Popocatéptl, once a brave warrior, and his beloved, Iztaccíhuatl, the beautiful daughter of a mighty Tlaxcaltec ruler. Betrothed before Popocatéptl sets off for battle, the young couple’s plans go awry when a false message is sent to Iztaccíhuatl by a rival announcing that Popocatéptl is dead. Upon hearing the news, she dies of a broken heart. When Popocatéptl returns triumphant from war and learns of her death, he is devastated and orders a great tomb to be built under the sun, piling ten hills together to form a huge mountain. He carries the body of Iztaccíhuatl to the summit and lays her on the great mountain, lovingly kisses her cold lips, and kneels in front of her with a smoking torch to watch over her eternal sleep. Over time, snow covers their bodies and forms two enormous volcanoes th

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El Volcán; The Volcano
Raúl Anguiano (Artist)
oil on canvas
Object Type: 
Credit Line: 
Gift of the Thomas Gilcrease Foundation, 1955
Accession No: 
Previous Number(s): 
0147.2012; 14604
Signed in lower right on recto.
Not On View

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