LA CONQUISTADORA / Chevalier
Unveiling the History of a Six Hundred Year Old Religious Icon
By Jaima Chevalier
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Few religious icons dominate and inspire their subjects as powerfully as La Conquistadora, America’s Oldest Madonna, has over the centuries. Don Diego de Vargas carried her image as a message of peace and reconciliation when the Spanish returned to Santa Fe after the Pueblo Revolt. In frontier times, a well-known local madam was especially devoted to her. In modern times, her fame has reached throughout the world, while her local devotional society has provided a link between the very rich and the very poor in Santa Fe, even as it served as a power base for city and state politics. While maintaining her place in the hearts of Santa Feans, La Conquistadora has also taken the throne at the heart of the ancient city's history, and she has the scars to prove it.
With features sometimes called "Palestinian" and startling blue eyes, La Conquistadora’s origins are shrouded in mystery, but Jaima Chevalier unveils surprising new information about this icon's amazing provenance and past. A never-before-seen x-ray suggests the transformations La Conquistadora has undergone, while material from the journals of one of her most loyal devotees recalls the tense weeks of her 1973 kidnapping. Finally, Chevalier discovers the key to the long-standing mystery surrounding the wood used to craft the statue. This book fuses recent scientific discoveries with the stories and legends that comprise La Conquistadora's incredible mythology, creating a lyrical meditation that resonates with history throughout the centuries and across two continents and embracing Santa Fe, New Mexico as a crossroads of different cultures.
Jaima Chevalier is a native of Santa Fe, New Mexico, with deep ties to her home state. After the extraordinary circumstance of spending the first few years of her life in the basement of New Mexico's Laboratory of Anthropology, her family moved to the ranch outside of Santa Fe where she now raises her two children. Chevalier served as a researcher and associate producer for a 2009 history documentary made by Silver Horn Entertainment. She is the principal of Picture This, a local marketing and public relations firm.
Inside This Book
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