Illustrating Mexico one page at a time-Print Art of José Guadalupe Posada

José Guadalupe Posada: Hojas Volantes (Broadsides or Broadsheets)

The broadsides were created by José Guadalupe Posada and Manuel Manilla at Vanegas Arroyo publishing house. These were loose sheets that covered a variety of human interest events such as love stories, murders, suicides, bullfight gorings, infamous criminals and folklore heroes. Thus the name hojas volantes. Hojas volantes, or "flying sheets," are some of the earliest examples of print journalism that operated among the largely illiterate masses.

The images on these broadsides were used to convey messages to the population who could understand the intended messages through the embedded messages. Posada's artistic talent thus was critical in able to convey succinct messages in a relatively limited space. Below are some of the broadsides or broadsheets that will give the visitor to this virtual exhibition an idea about the sort of images that were produced using the letterpress technique. At the UC Berkeley's Bancroft Library, we have a collection of Posada's broadsheets (Posada (José Guadalupe) Collection of works published by Antonio Vanegas Arroyo) that can be used according to the conditions that are set forth by Bancroft Library.

Along with Manuel Manilla, José Guadalupe Posada is known to have created images for several different Mexico City-based periodicals and their images are numbered in the thousands. One of the most popular subjects, however, are his Calaveras, or skeletons. The Calaveras were already a part of the strong tradition of Mexican graphic arts, but through the popularity of the broadsides, Posada and Manilla brought the satirical skeletons prominently into the "modernity."