Doņa Lucia Zarate
Pen and ink, 9 x 7.25 inches, 1999
Collection of The Center for Emerging Visual Artists
(formerly Creative Artists Network)
The Mexican dwarf Lucia Zarate was unquestionably one of the tiniest women
who ever lived. Born in 1864, her promoters claimed she was only 17 inches
tall and weighed a mere five pounds. In other words, she was approximately
the size of a small house cat. Many people didn't believe she was real, until she started to
sing and dance before their eyes.
Said to have been intelligent and charming, Lucia exhibited herself
for several years and amassed quite an impressive fortune as one of the
best paid performers of her day. Unfortunately, Lucia died on tour in 1890
when the train in which she was traveling became stalled in a mountain snowstorm.
Zarate is said to have died of exposure. Another account claims she died
of 'gastric fever', but no matter what the cause death came early for Lucia Zarate.
My desire to communicate Zarate's scale led me to place her within
this composition borrowed from Goya's portrait of
Don Manuel Osorio de Zuņiga.
My own cats served as the models for the potentially dangerous felines behind the little lady.
All Images and Text Š James G. Mundie 2003 - 2010