The apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Guadalupe in Mexico are unique in the annals of Marian apparitions because this Lady allegedly left physical evidence behind her. The evidence is the painting of the vision made by herself in an instant of time on the cloak of the only witness, Juan Diego. This image is called the tilma. If she did this then apparitions without this or similar evidence have to be dubious. Why give stronger proof for the Lady of Guadalupe and not the Lady of Lourdes or Pontmain or Fatima? And as for her strong evidence, why did she even bother considering that there is no evidence that the cloth and the image go back to 1531 when she supposedly presented them to the world!

Alonso Sánchez de Cisneros gave us the name of Marco the Painter as the Indian who created the picture on the tilma.  He got the name from others including the Friar, Bustamante.  He is not the perfect witness but we can rely on him for the name.  He quoted the friar thus, "This new devotion of Our Lady of Guadalupe it seems that it was an occasion of sin, because it was a painting that Marcos, an Indian painter, had made, and that for that devotion to be approved and held as good it was necessary to have verified the miracles and confirmed them with many witnesses".

It seems the image was followed by Indians treating it like one of the idols they were supposed to have abandoned when they became Christian.  It was a temptation to sin.

And this painter was a real person.  He is named in the Bautista notes from 1564 to 1565as a painter gifted in painting religious topics for the Franciscans in particular.  He is hailed in a 1632 book calling him Marco de Aquino as being one of an extremely talented trio of painters/sculptors.  The painter was alive when the tilma image was attributed to him and nobody debated that he was responsible.  It is not suggested he was a hoaxer - he may have felt inspired to paint the image.  The esteem he got shows he was seen as a participant in the alleged work of the Virgin not as somebody who faked her image but who was painting perhaps on the basis of what he was told by a witness of the vision.  It is known that his ability was remarkable and of a startling high quality if the altar piece he finished in 1564 is anything to go by.

It it wisest to assume that those who said at the time Marco painted it were speaking from definite knowledge and not putting two and two together.  The painter if painting for a vision would have been restricted in what he could say.

It seems the miracle reports surrounding the tilma led to the notion the image directly came from the Virgin herself.  That is a predictable inference.

The backstory of the apparition was not even emphasised or cared about at that time. Religiously speaking the idolatry that surrounded the tilma shows it was not of direct supernatural origin.