It has been studied and generally acknowledged that Calderón loved art, publicly defended painters, and recognized and felt an intrinsic, almost divinely inspired relationship that existed between painting and his dramatic works. However, what has not been fully appreciated is the extent to which Calderón understood the iconographical methodology that the early painters and, later, his contemporaries employed to portray the hidden theological and doctrinal mysteries, which the Church demanded that they help convey to instruct the faithful. This study focuses on Calderón's auto sacramental, La hidalga del valle, to illustrate how the dramatist combined his extensive knowledge of art history and theology to portray and visualize, on the stage, one of the central tenets of Catholicism, the Immaculate Conception. After reviewing Spain's important role in the debates concerning this controversial doctrine, which circulated throughout Europe, the essay discusses the five principal icons used by baroque artists in their paintings and how these same icons are imbedded in Calderon's auto. After a brief consideration of Calderón's staging of the play, the study concludes by relating the play's title and overall structure to the popular Marian prayer, Salve Regina.


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pp. 79-101
Launched on MUSE
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