The Cusco painting in the XVI and XVII century and its influence in Lima and Quito

La Pintura Cusqueña
The Last Supper by Marco Zapata Sinchi Roca – In the center of the table there is a «Cuy» (Guinea Pig)

The Cusco painting is a cultural convention of full originality unparalleled in the history of pictorial art in Latin America, although the painting was developed in other Spanish colonial centers such as Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico and in some less important places, without However, the Cusco painting school stood out, creating a very peculiar mestizo style for its formal and conceptual beauty.

From being an instrument of ideological domination to the Spaniards, the painting became a subtle form of cultural resistance by the Indians, and mestizos who appropriated European art techniques and concepts while still expressing their own ideas and experiences: From this particular amalgam emerged the School of Painting Cusco that was cultivated for three centuries (XVI, XVII and XVIII) by various authors some known and other anonymous who worked in workshops jointly under the direction of a recognized teacher .

The Highlights of Cusco Painting

Notwithstanding the remarkable thing, outside the peculiarities of the different styles and authors is the Cusco Painting as a collective phenomenon of expression of a historical era dominated by Catholic religious forms. But where native cultural elements are incorporated, thus ineffably defining the essence of what constitutes Peru today as a country. The Spanish painting of the time is characterized by the flight of the world and asceticism as the path required for the salvation of humanity, this is opposed by the indigenous pantheistic vision linked to land and nature, subtraction, rites sumptuous, to the enjoyment of life without prejudice. From this contrast, the mestizo style that incorporates elements of the Cusqueño context, such as local landscapes, animal flowers and indigenous characters with their native clothing, will gradually emerge evanescent.

La Pintura Cusqueña
Cuzqueña Painting in the Viceroyalty of Peru

The Cusco painting in the 16th and 17th century

During the sixteenth century and the beginning of the seventeenth century Cusco painting was influenced by Italian and European painters who came to Peru in search of good chances to get rich, given the economic glow in which the viceroyalty lived by the extraction of gold and silver, between We can highlight the well-known painter Alesio. In the centuries mentioned, the influence of the Jesuits who installed the painting as a systematic means to teach their doctrines is also evident. The subtlety with which the Jesuits knew how to catechize the Native Americans through the knowledge of their mentality and culture is proverbial. This perception was reflected in the religious iconography in which the Jesuits like Bitti, an immediate Mannerist master of the Baroque and others who knew us, developed in the region of Cusco this art for the splendor of the church, and as the Jesuits said its motto: ” To the greater glory of God. ” Understanding the extension and multiplicity of the pictorial phenomenon of Cusco also implies recognizing the ideology that underlies this in the history of Peru and the importance that the Society of Jesus had in its conformation.

La Pintura Cusqueña
The Mannerism of Jesuit Bernardo Bitti in the Cusco School

The Influence of Italian Painters the Fresco Cusqueños

The influences of the Italian and Flemish painting of the Jesuit school during the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries converge in the so-called baroque style, which knows its maximum splendor and development during the seventeenth and mid-eighteenth centuries and which defines a style of the Spanish Catholicism of the counter-reform. Baroque moved to America became the quintessential colonial art, introducing diagonal composition, aerial perspective and chiaroscuro between its fundamental defining elements. Finally, as a continuity of the Baroque, neoclassicism emerged in the 18th century, although without the twist and originality of the one who tried to rescue pictorially the classical Greek and Latin elements developed during the Renaissance era. In addition to Jesuit Bitti and Alesio who worked with Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, we can highlight the presence of Indian and mestizo painters such as Basilio de Santa Cruz, Diego Quispe Tito who studied in Europe and. He created a very personal style easily recognizable by the freedom of his forms that hereafter defines Cusqueña Painting. Marcos Zapata was a prolific author of many works of very high quality. In its surroundings are other painters such as Chacón, Vilca and Tadeo Escalante who follow in one way or another their style, some with a more or less classical, academic vision, the others more influenced by the decorative model. Finally, along with Zapata, we find Mauricio García who worked by directing other teachers with assistants through a large workshop, making a collective painting that was not uncommon in the guild of Cusco painters. In a succinct introduction it is impossible to highlight all the richness and artistic originality of Cusco’s painting as well as its social and ideological connotations due to the breadth and diversity that this phenomenon acquired. There are thousands of paintings that were taken from Cusco and Peru for many years so it is impossible to make a complete catalog that broadly encompasses a qualitative and quantitative vision of this artistic manifestation. The selection of the Cusqueña Painting that we present in this publication is an evident proof that speaks for itself same and that obvious any other comment or consideration.

La Pintura Cusqueña
Return to Egypt by Diego Quispe Tito

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