The development of a colonial painting traditional in the Cusco region of Peru was a dynamic, multifaceted process that changed dramatically over the course of nearly 300 years of Spanish colonial rule, from the conquest of 1532 to the wars for Spanish Independence in 1821.
Pre – Columbian practices os painting on the surfaces of keros (flared wooden drinking vesseles), ceramics , and on the walls of buildings came into dynamic contac with European artists and painting techniques that coalesced into a uniquely Cusqueñan visual tradition.
This is a canvas that is in the first stage of the creation process, it is a Virgin of the Milk, the characteristic of Cusquenian painting is the use of vivid and strong colors.
THE IMPACT OF MOLLINEDO
In addition to the religious orders, the secular clergy also had a tremendous impact on the transformation of Cusco into a vibrant on the transformation of Cusco into a vibrant artistic center that produced enormous quantities of paintings for both local consumption and for export throughour the entire Peruvian viceroyalty. One individual in particular fundamentaly changed the course of artistic production in Cusco: Manuel de Mollinedo y Angulo, who was appointed as Bishop of Cusco in 1673 and remained in this position untilhis death in 1699. One of the greatest artistic patrons in Peruvian history, Mollinedo commissioned thousands of paintings, sculptures , retablos, liturgical textiles, and other sumptuous works of art to adorn the newly rebuilt churches and chaples that had been destroyed during Cusco devastating earthquake of 1650. Mollinedo was responsible for bringing iberian devotions toCusco, such as the Virgin of Almudena.
THE CUSCO SCHOOL
The late 17 th century also witnessed the development of the famous Cusco School of painting, whose origins some scholars have traced to a legal dispute between indigenous and Spanish artists in 1688 over the construction os a triumphal arch for Corpus Christi festivities.
The Cusco School developed a unique artistic signature characterized by bright color palette, flattened forms, indigenous symbolism, and a profusion of gold ornament. The paintings were mass produced in assembly – line fashion, with different individuals who specialized in the painting of hands, clothing, faces, flowers, and the special brocateado patterning foud on the surface of clothing.
The artistic process under the Cusco school, unlike that of the Italian or Spanish painters, relied on a different mode of manufacture that de-emphasized the individuality of the artist and instead privileged the communal act of art making.
THE INDIGENOUS PRESENCE IN RELIGIOUS ART
The majority of the paintings featured in the book thus far offer Andean interpretations os European religious images. Many of these paintings display a unique local sensibility and diverge considerably from the Europen stylistic models from which they derive. Nevertheless, the vast majority of the paintings mark their religious subjects that, as products of a European market, featured subjects that looked like the primary consumers of these images. In the paintings to follow, however, we see a deliberate inclusion of indigenous Andean peoples within religious scenes.
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