Sunday, February 27, 2011

Assignment C (blog #3)

Latin American Colonial art poses several interesting questions.

The art seems to have ignored the local culture, scenery, dress codes, and ways of life. It is indeed Europe-lite. It is unlikely people would be clothed the way they are in the paintings, in hot, near-tropical Mexico. Granted, the Christian themes do relate to a third land neither Latin American nor European: the Middle East of Bethlehem, Palestine, and Egypt. But the Italian Renaissance painters had no problems reinventing the Biblical characters essentially as Romans, in looks, dress, and even in the landscapes shown. But when the imagery was imported into Latin America, the painters did not alter it again to fit their own locality.

It is interesting artists were thought lower-class artisans. The general history of art seems to have been of attaching itself to the centers of power and social status. But the subject matter of the paintings do not seem to reflect any poorer-human's themes. They seemingly reflect no themes other than those of the European Renaissance and the later neo-classicism. What of the many wars and the colorful warriors? The adobes? The rainforests? Nothing of the pioneer's ways shows in the paintings. Religion seems to dominate, and all the varied issues of building in the new land ignored, in what the artist chooses to capture on canvas.

One possible conclusion is that patrons drive where art heads, more than the artists themselves. They decide what gets painted, what gets displayed, and, most important, what gets rewarded. And the nobility of new Spain saw themselves as Spaniards, from the beginning all the way to the bitter end of the later revolutions.


  1. I am in complete agreement with you on the fact that religion that really dominated the culture of the Amerindians and the European culture. Unfortunately, I feel that religion really discriminated against these indigenous people and the fact that humanity back then was completely out of tune. Good Commenting

  2. I agree with what you are saying. It is shocking to me how the Amerindians did not paint what they were surrounded by or what they even believed in. To me it just appears that the Amerindians painted this way because it was the only way to receive commissions and it was the only style that met the European standards. It it a travesty that the Amerindians did not paint what was truly relevant to them. The only presence of Amerindians in this type of art are the subtle symbols that they slip in.