Actopan wall mural

The research of Jeanette F. Peterson and others highlights the 16th-century Augustinian monastery at Actopan, Mexico, where a wall mural depicts the spiritual inspiration of the Augustinian friars to be the desert fathers and hermits. The mural inscription in Latin is “Hermits, Cenobites, Anchorites — St. Augustine radiates glory on St. Antony.” The image above, depicting desert hermits (upper left), is not from the Peterson article.

The Peterson article and others are especially interested in the depiction of the devil in these idealized paintings, but while a perennial concern to the friars and hermits themselves, the article demonstrates the didactic function of the devil in preaching to the indigenous population.