New York: The Viking Press, 1955. First edition. Large octavo (10 inches tall), original lime green cloth, original illustrated dust jacket. Book fine, very slight edge-wear, minor chipping to spine ends of bright dust jacket. Item #884
"THERE, AT THE VERY SUMMIT, STANDING IN A RADIANCE LIKE A RAINBOW, WAS A LADY" First edition of Helen Rand Parish's children's story of the miraculous appearance of Our Lady in Mexico—vibrantly illustrated throughout by the French-Mexican artist Jean Charlot. Born in France (to a French father and Mexican mother), Charlot cultivated a deepening love of Mexican culture before he departed from France for good in 1921. Arriving in Mexico, Charlot encountered "my first Mexican priest, seen at landing, at Mass in the cathedral of Vera Cruz, [who] happened to be a genuine 'India verde,' and all through the Consecration I watched lovingly the nape of dark green skin between the fringes of white hair and the gold galloon of the Sunday vestments. I was at last to see alive and rooted in its own soil what I had apprehended in Paris only from fragments...For a while I would be nothing but eyes, taking in this new face of the Church." In Mexico, Charlot joined the muralist school gathered around Diego Rivera, where he developed a distinctive visual iconography infused by the spiritual traditions of his new home: "My piety paralleled the mixed aesthetics of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, robed in tints so light and so dark of skin, dressed in the insignia of an Aztec princess, impressed by Heaven on a lowly palm mat." Our Lady of Guadalupe is really the tale of the lowly peasant, Juan Diego, and his fateful mountainside encounter with Our Lady in December 1531. "My littlest son, my xocoyote—my dear one—Juan Diego, the least of my children! I am your Mother in Heaven. I am Mary." The story is divided into five sections: I. Juan Diego, II. The Lady in the Rainbow, III. His Grace, the Bishop, IV. The Cocolixtle Fever, V. Rose of Castile. Charlot's illustrations—recalling the work of the Mexican muralists of his youth—includes a vibrant dust jacket, title page, six splendid double-page, color-printed plates, and additional head-and-tailpiece illustrations. Jean Charlot. Born Catholics (F.J. Sheed, editor). Approbations.