Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Baroque art and architecture in Latin America

The cathedral in Mexico City, begun in 1567.

Those interested in an introductory discussion of how the Baroque manifested itself in Latin America will benefit from reading "The Angel with the Arquebus: Baroque Art in Latin America" by Miguel Rojas Mix. The whole piece is well worth reading, but the following, the concluding paragraph, sums up nicely:

Baroque art in Latin America is not a mere transposition of Spanish or Portuguese art. It is a hybrid art. And it embraces more than two cultures, for along with the Spanish tradition it received the Arab heritage in the form of the mudejar style. It is said that the Indian contribution is shown in a preference for a range of pure colours and in the use of abstraction in the portrayal of figures. But the Black influence can also be seen, both in the dark complexion of angels and Virgins and in the syncretism of African gods with the traditional Christian saints. A marvellously enriched style emerged from all these influences, the style of an art that was fundamental to a new world. Such is the art we know as "Latin American Baroque'.

Rojas Mix's article, by the way, originally appeared in the September 1987 issue of the UNESCO Courier, the entire issue of which (contents here) is devoted to discussions of Baroque art, architecture, music, literature and thought from throughout Europe and Latin America. If the titles of the articles are any indication, there's much to learn on those pages.


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