Primary Source

Portrait of Hernán Cortés

Annotation

Hernán Cortés, a central figure in the establishment of Spanish rule in the Americas, is the subject of this painting. Throughout his career, he led several voyages back and forth between Spain, the Carribean, and Mexico. The Spanish Crown awarded him titles of honor for his efforts, including “Capitán General de las tierras conquistadas” and “Marqués del Valle de Oaxaca.” In the top corner of this painting, the artist depicts the coat of arms that the monarch specifically granted to Cortés on March 7, 1525, featuring an eagle and a lion. Within Spanish society, coats of arms were a sign of nobility. His military dress, apparently gilded along the edges, also reflects the status of Cortés. The fact that this painting was created decades after these events reflects the fame that Cortés had established within Spanish society. His name still dominates narratives about the establishment of Spanish rule in the Americas, even today. The artist remains unnamed, having signed only with the initials G. E. It currently belongs to the collections of the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia de México.

Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia de México

Credits

"Hernán Cortés." Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia de México. July 14, 2021.
Annotated by Brittany Erwin.

How to Cite This Source
Portrait of Hernán Cortés in World History Commons,