Tlazolteotl healing a child of epilepsy | Eduardo Urbano Merino

Tlazolteotl healing a child of epilepsy

Oil/Canvas 2.00x2.00m

In 2015 the Mexican artist Eduardo Urbano Merino created a modern depiction of the Aztec goddess of epilepsy “Tlazolteotl”. Tlazolteotl was portrayed by the Aztecs as the life-giving earth mother and goodness of fertility, but also was considered cruel and capable to bring insanity. She was able to take possession of a person, penetrate him or her and causes convulsions, but also was able to cure patients with epilepsy. The new depiction shows the goddess approaching a child who is going to be cured by the request of the mother. The goddess is one of the most intense figures in the painting and she is portrayed as a powerful woman holding in one hand maize cobs as a symbol of life and in the other hand a rattle which was a ritual instrument for the dance of the fertility.  The woman wears in the chest an Aztec dress with typical ornaments and is surrounded by a red blanket. In the Aztec culture the goddess were related with blood, and historically in the Aztec culture blood was valued as a sacred thing. The goddess has white flowers on her extremities that symbolize beauty and kindness. This kind of flower is typical of Mexico City. The goddess has the mouth open and it was described that when she was curing a patient the disease was expelled by the mouth by the goddess. 

In the lower part of the painting we find the scene in the foreground of the painting. There is a child having an epileptic seizure and is supported by her mother. The child has no shoes and he is dressed as people in our days. He has the reflection of the blanket in his pants. As an important technical detail in the painting the child and his mother are in the golden point (golden ratio) of the composition, from this point the symmetry of the figures and the whole painting is calculated. 

The goddess is approaching the patient ready to be cured. The painting has some simbology; there is a horizontal platform supporting the patient and her mother. In the second block there are some symbols used by first nations of Canada. In the last block from left to right there is a maple leaf. The painting also has two lateral and a superior walls containing the scene in a geometrical perfect form and helps to concentrate the power of the goddess to cure the patient. These walls represent parts of Aztec pyramids with traditional timeworn ornaments in the borders. Finally in the right lateral wall there is a grid, this is a device used to map seizure activity in patients during operations. The painting has the typical leafs of the work of Eduardo. The painting is in permanent exhibition at the college of Medicine of the University of Saskatchewan Canada.

Details of the painting

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