Early use of corrective lenses in Spanish Colonies of the Americas including parts of the future United States: Reference to Viceroy Luis de Velasco (the son)



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Calvo Padilla, María Luisa and Enoch, Jay M. jmenoch@socrates.berkeley.edu (2003) Early use of corrective lenses in Spanish Colonies of the Americas including parts of the future United States: Reference to Viceroy Luis de Velasco (the son). Optometry and Vision Science, 80 (10). pp. 681-689. ISSN 1040-5488

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/00006324-200310000-00009


We discuss many aspects of a reproduction of a formal painting from the XVIth century. It is a portrait of Viceroy of New Spain Luis de Velasco, El Joven or Hijo (son—see text), found at the Museum of the Pecos National Monument (near Pecos and Santa Fe, New Mexico). A formal portrait of each Viceroy of New Spain was created, and this one was painted during de Velasco’s first term as Viceroy (1590 to 1595 AD). In this depiction, he is seen wearing spectacles. To our knowledge, this is the first known reference suggesting the introduction of this form of visual correction in the Spanish Colonies in the Americas and in the future United States. There are three known portraits of Luis de Velasco (son): One painting, which included his father and significant others, hangs in the Colegiata (a small cathedral) de San Luis near Valladolid, Spain. In this portrayal, he was shown as a young man without a spectacle correction. And there are two viceregal portraits (Term 1, 1590 to 1595; Term 2, 1607 to 1611) in which he wears the same spectacle correction (these are located in Mexico City).

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:

© 2003 American Academy of Optometry.
This work has been supported in part by the “Fundación Antonio del Amo” between the Complutense University of Madrid and the University of California. The authors thank responsible individuals in the Archivo General de Indias in Seville for making available the necessary facilities. Julian Bescós of the Ramón Areces Institution in Spain facilitated much of our work. We thank Dr. Charles Letocha, York, PA, for his kind assistance and for providing communications sent to him by Dr. Carmen Tato and Prof. Vincent Ilardi for sharing his copy of Devesa. We also thank Fathers Eliseo Abejón and Félix Rodríguez of the Colegiata de San Luis at Villagarcia de Campos in Castilla. Frank Barraclough of the Ophthalmic Antiquities International Collectors Club, UK, kindly obtained valuable references and materials for us, and we appreciate important comments by Prof. Kurt Bernardo Wolf of the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Cuernavaca, Mexico, and his friend/ associate Arq. Rafael Fierro Gossman of Mexico City and the valued information provided by Dr. J. William Rosenthal of New Orleans, LA.

Uncontrolled Keywords:Spectacle Corrections, The Americas, Viceroy Luis de Velasco (Father and Son), Early Optical Devices in The Spanish Colonies of The Americas
Subjects:Sciences > Physics > Optics
ID Code:25577
Deposited On:04 Jun 2014 16:07
Last Modified:31 Dec 2020 00:03

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