The history of painting during the early Modern Age can be explained as the result of a complex process of exchanges and transmissions of models. Two examples from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries respectively serve as an introduction to these mechanisms. In 1581 the Flemish painter Martin de Vos put his signature to the picture of Saint Michael the Archangel that hangs in Cuautitlán Cathedral, Mexico. Th e presence of this work in New Spain and its circulation through a print by Hieronymus Wierix caused the composition to spread across all the Spanish territories, as shown by the examples from Peru and Spain in this section.
The prints, original pictures and copies spread artistic languages and compositional formulas throughout Europe and the Americas. One of the most important cases during the seventeenth century was Rubens, who supplied American, Spanish, Italian and Flemish artists with models and played a decisive role in creating an international style. Villalpando’s Assumption is directly derived from a print based on a composition by the Flemish artist and is one of dozens of examples of the deep mark Rubens left on Spanish art and the art of New Spain.