San Antonio 1718: A Tricentennial Exhibition of Art from Viceregal Mexico

February 16–May 13, 2018 

Paez de espanol e india copy


Celebrate San Antonio’s Tricentennial, with our special exhibition: San Antonio 1718: A Tricentennial Exhibition of Art from Viceregal Mexico. The exhibition reveals the richly varied visual culture that was interlaced into the city’s dual origins—in presidios defending Spain’s colonial interests and missions advancing Christian conversion at the dangerous edge of empire.

The product of five years’ research in public and private collections in the U.S. and Mexico, Circa 1718 tells the story of northern New Spain, in general, and San Antonio, in particular, through more than 120 landscapes, portraits, narrative paintings, sculptures, and devotional and decorative objects that reveal both the sweep of its early ideological aspirations and the details of everyday, individual lives. The exhibition is organized in three sections: People and Places, The Cycle of Life, and The Church.

This art offers rare views of the immediate context of San Antonio’s founding: Spain’s religious, political, and economic aims, and the real challenges and negotiations lived in the harsh environment of New Spain. Circa 1718 is a vital exploration of the DNA of San Antonio’s visual culture, revealing themes that still emerge and retreat in different circumstances as the city grows.


José de Páez (New Spain, 1720 – 1790), Mexican Castes (Castas mexicanas), (15 total), ca. 1780, 1. De Español, e India, produce mestizo”, 18th century, Oil on canvas; 36 x 41 in. (91 x 104.5 cm), Private Collection. Photography by Peggy Tenison.