oil on panel
36” x 24”
Throughout this series it may appear that I’ve been tough on the Spanish but the Conquistadors would never have been able to successfully conquer Mexico without the help of the indigenous people. What would it have took for the Spanish to win such allies? Well truth be said the Mexican Territory was not all peace and love before the arrival of Cortez. Aztecs were stealing crops from neighboring tribes in order to feed their growing population. They forced these tribes to pay tribute to them.
Now lets think about heart sacrifice for a moment. It is believed that at times the Aztecs had lines of thousands of people going up to summit of the pyramid to have their heart gruesomely ripped out. The Blood of the victims was regularly used to paint walls of rooms within the pyramid. Can you imagine if your brothers and sisters suffered such a fate? We can marvel at the Aztecs astounding engineering marvels that they left us but their own sins toward their neighbors are an important piece of the puzzle in understanding their downfall.
This painting depicts the Aztec Sacrifice ritual and their belief that it was necessary to ensure the Sun would rise again tomorrow. This is represented by the heart bringing color into their world through this disturbing act of calling upon their bright darkness. I have incorporated the symbolism of the catholic sacred heart as well and the victim’s body mirrors images of a flagellated christ. Coincidentally, scientific reenactments have taught us that the rib cage is too difficult to cut through so they would have created an incision below the ribs, also mirroring christ’s wound.