17 septiembre, 2006

Gipsy Charity. A Footnote to the "Autoridades"

The Diccionario de Autoridades illustrates the entry “Palabrero” (vol. V. p. 86) with a quotation taken from La vida de Cristo nuestro Señor (1596, vol. 1, book. 1, ch. 5) of the Augustinian Cristóbal de Fonseca (1550?-1621):

“Topas à una Gitána, el colór abrasado, el cabello negro ... un gitanillo detrás, otro de la mano, otro al pecho, que parece la charidad, embaidóra, palabréra: dice os la buena ventúra.” (You’ll find a Gipsy woman with sunburned color and black hair ... with a little Gipsy behind her, another taken by the hand, and another on her breast so that she seems to be the Charity; a cheater and a chatterbox who tells you fortunes.)

The image of the Charity that lays behind the reference of fray Cristóbal is identical in detail with the one depicted in the contemporary (1593) Iconologia of Cesare Ripa:

“Donna vestita in rosso ... terrà nel braccio sinistro vn fanciullo, al quale dia il latte, & due altri gli staranno scherzando a’piedi, vno d’essi terrà alla detta figura abbracciata la destra mano.”

that is, in the words of the 1709 English edition:

“A Woman all in red ... with an Infant sucking, in her left Arm, and two other standing up, on of which is embrac'd with the right.”

or, as formulated in the 1866 Mexican version by don Luis G. Pastor:

“Se representa bajo la figura de una jóven, ofreciendo el pecho á un niño ... Cerca de la Caridad hay otros muchos niños, á los cuales prodiga sus cuidados.”