Portrait of Villarreal 2021

John William Bailly
Portrait of Francisco de Villarreal, 2021 (Flower Wars)
Graphite on Arches Paper
14 x 10 inches / 36 x 26 centimeters
Courtesy of the Artist

“The first known letter sent from what is now known as Miami to Europe was penned on 29 January 1568. Brother Francisco Villarreal, a Jesuit, headed a mission to convert the Tequestas, the indigenous people who called Miami home. The letter describes the resistance by the Tequesta to European culture, as well as the obstacles Villareal encountered finding food and managing the weather and mosquitos. Interestingly, Villareal organized Biblical plays featuring Spanish soldiers to attempt to convert the Tequesta. Although they failed in their objective, these plays are widely recognized as the first European theater performances in the continental US. Bailly first discovered Villareal’s letter when doing research for one of his projects. His search for the original copy led him to The Society of Jesuits in Rome. While they were not able to provide the original document, they did have the oldest available copy transcribed by the recipient of Villareal’s letter, Friar Giovanni Rogel. They responded immediately, granting him the rights to reproduce the transcript. This copy is located in the Vatican archives. Francisco de Villareal’s letter as transcribed by Giovanni Rogel is reproduced thanks to the Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu.” Monica Perez, Assistant Curator to “John William Bailly-In Situ” at the Deering Estate in 2022

Read the English Translation of Villarreal 1568 letter here.

Francisco de Villarreal, page 1. Copyright Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu.
Francisco de Villarreal, page 2. Copyright Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu.
Francisco de Villarreal, page 3. Copyright Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu.

04 September 2022

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