86 F
Mérida
Friday, December 3, 2021
###

Just who is La Catrina, anyway?

The famous well dressed skeleton originally had nothing to do with the current Day of the Dead celebrations

Latest headlines

‘Mayan ball game’ World Cup kicks off in Mérida

Mérida has kicked off an international Pok ta Pok tournament, also known as the "Mayan ball game" World Cup. 

We got a robot artist to paint Yucatán, here are the results

One could be forgiven for brushing off AI art as a fad, but sometimes these technologies deliver some very interesting results.

Festivities celebrating the Virgin of Guadalupe to be scaled back once again

For the second year in a row, Yucatan's Catholic archdiocese is urging its faithful to not assist to large events commemorating the day of the Virgin of Guadalupe on Dec. 12. 

New York artist finds an unlikely muse in rural Yucatán

Lohin's artistic subject matter ranges from portraits to landscapes and renderings of her favorite model — a donkey named Camila.
Yucatán Magazine
Sign up to get our top headlines delivered to your inbox twice a week.
La Catrina’s origins can be traced to an early parody from a lithographer named José Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913).

La Catrina originally had nothing to do with the Mexican holiday Dia de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.

Artist José Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913) began his career as a lithography teacher. In 1887, he moved from Aquascalientes to Mexico City, where he worked as a freelance illustrator.

Deriving from the Spanish word for “skulls,” Posada’s calaveras were illustrations featuring skeletons which would become closely associated with Día de los Muertos. But that association occurred years after his death.

Most of these calaveras were published by Antonio Vanegas Arroyo, whose press produced inexpensive literature for the working classes, including thousands of satirical broadsides which Posada illustrated. Through this focus on mortality, Vanegas Arroyo and Posada satirized many poignant issues of the day, in particular the details of bourgeois life and the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz.

Much of his work reflected his disdain for dictator Porfirio Diaz. The Porfirian period is remembered for excesses and corruption, and the dictator’s obsession with European materialism and culture.

Posada’s most celebrated illustration was that of “La Calavera de la Catrina,” an etching made sometime between 1910 and 1913. “Catrina” is the feminine form of the word “catrin,” which means “dandy,” signifying a rich, society person.

This original description of La Catrina refers to her as a “Garbancera,” a nickname given to people of indigenous ancestry who were ashamed of their origins and tried to imitate the European style while lightening their brown skin with makeup.

Basically a skeleton wearing a flamboyant hat and dress, La Catrina humorously communicates the concept that death is the great equalizer of all. Despite all the riches you may or may not have in this life, everyone is equal in the end.

On Jan. 20, 1913, three years after the start of the Mexican Revolution, Posada died at his home in obscurity. He was penniless and buried in an unmarked grave. It was only years later, in the 1920s, that his work became recognized on a national and international level after it was championed by the French expatriate artist Jean Charlot, who described Posada as “printmaker to the Mexican people.”

Two of Mexico’s most recognized muralists, Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco, both point to their admiration of Posada as guiding inspirations for their artistic careers.

“Sueño de una Tarde Dominical en la Alameda Central” by Diego Rivera

The continuing popularity of La Calavera as well as her name is also derived from a work by artist Diego Rivera in his 1947 mural, “Sueño de una Tarde Dominical en la Alameda Central” (“Dream of a Sunday Afternoon Along Central Alameda”). Rivera’s mural was painted between 1946 and 1947 and can be found at Museo Mural Diego Rivera in Mexico City.

Today, La Catrina is the most recognizable image of the Day of the Dead celebrations. She has come to symbolize Mexicans’ willingness to laugh at death and a reminder that we are all equal in the end.

Sources: Facebook/CasaQ, Public Domain.org

- Advertisement -

Subscriptions make great gifts

More articles

International TlaquepArte handicrafts show returns to Mérida

Expo TlaquepArte returns to Mérida on Friday. Photo: Courtesy With the 200 exhibitors from 16 countries, the 113th...

A big win for Yucatán, the newest member of the World Tourism Organization

A campaign to further boost the state’s economy has paid off. Yucatán has been granted membership in the elite World Tourism Organization.

New petition seeks intangible cultural heritage status for Mayan language

“The importance of the language can be observed from the perspective of its psycho-emotional value or potential", says Cocom Bolio. “Language also creates a sense of identity and belonging; and, at the same time, a tradition or way of life.”

Yucatán’s congress declares high-speed Internet access a human right

Yucatán’s congress has passed a bill making Internet access a human right. 

Wonders of the land: Organic food production in Yucatán

Organic food production is a somewhat newer trend in agricultural ventures, as it promotes a friendlier environmental process, and is overall said to be healthier for consumers. 

US ambassador joins governors of Mexico’s southeast for bilateral summit in Mérida

The US ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, joined the governors of Mexico's southeastern states for an official bilateral summit in Mérida.

Villa Navidad to benefit a trio of charities for the holidays

Villa Navidad is a weekend-long holiday event Dec. 4-5 to collect donations for three local charities.

2 Cuban migrants die in shipwreck off Yucatán coast

Unofficial reports claim that Mexican authorities helped 19 people to disembark the badly damaged ship.

Angels: What makes Adele Aguirre’s new art exhibit at SoHo Galleries so moving

Adele Aguirre's "Angels" exhibit at SoHo Galleries responds to a personal crisis, but will be cathartic to everyone suffering loss. ...

Frustrated animal rights activists blockade Mérida shelter

The protestors set up camp outside of the facility and took to laying on mats and pieces of cardboard to demonstrate their commitment to settling the issue without violence.