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Emmanuel Ortega

(fl 16th century).

Mexican painter. Gerson’s life and oeuvre has been linked to the Apocalypse of St John frescoes (1562) in the Franciscan church of Tecamachalco in the state of Puebla. The images were first painted on amate (bark paper made from the amate tree) and later transferred to the vaults above the choir where pigments were added in the fresco medium to blend both surfaces together. The cycle came to prominence via the scholarship of Manuel Toussaint, who in 1932 assigned the authorship to a painter from Flanders named Juan Gerson. Since then, the cycle’s authorship, along with Gerson’s identity, has remained a topic of controversy. Starting in the 1960s, art historians Rosa Camelo Arredondo, Jorge Gurría Lacroix, and Constantino Reyes Valerio revised this view stating that Gerson was instead a local indigenous artist. They agreed that Gerson was the principal master behind these images whose technique remains a prime example of how Pre-Columbian and European traditions were intertwined in religious spaces in New Spain....