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Contested Visions in the Spanish Colonial Worldby Ilona Katzew
Synopses & Reviews
Contested Visions offers a comparative view of the two principal viceroyalties of Spanish America: Mexico and Peru. Spanning developments from the 15th to the 19th century, this ambitious book looks at the many ways and contexts in which indigenous peoples were represented in art of the early modern periodand#8212;by colonial artists, European artists, and themselves. More than two hundred works of art, including paintings, sculptures, illustrated books, maps, codices, manuscripts, and other materials such as textiles, keros, and feather works, are reproduced in full-color illustrations, demonstrating the rich variety of these artistic approaches.and#160;
A collection of essays by an international team of distinguished scholars in the field uncovers the different meanings and purposes behind these depictions of native populations of the Americas. These experts explore the role of the visual arts in negotiating a sense of place in late pre-Columbian and colonial Latin America. They address a range of important topics, such as the construct of the Indian as a good Christian; how Amerindians drew on their pre-Columbian past to stake out a place within the Spanish body politic; their participation in festive rites; and their role as artists. Lavishly illustrated, this ambitious book provides a compelling and original framework by which to understand the intersection of vision and power in the Spanish colonial world.
An absorbing discussion of the myriad depictions of the indigenous people of Mexico and Peru in colonial times
The pictorial genre known as casta painting is one of the most compelling forms of artistic expression from colonial Mexico. Created as sets of consecutive images, the works portray racial mixing among the main groups that inhabited the colony: Indians, Spaniards, and Africans. In this beautifully illustrated book, Ilona Katzew places casta paintings in their social and historical context, showing for the first time the ways in which the meanings of the paintings changed along with shifting colonial politics.
The book examines how casta painting developed art historically, why race became the subject of a pictorial genre that spanned an entire century, who commissioned and collected the works, and what meanings the works held for contemporary audiences. Drawing on a range of previously unpublished archival and visual material, Katzew sheds new light on racial dynamics of eighteenth-century Mexico and on the construction of identity and self-image in the colonial world.
About the Author
Ilona Katzew is curator and co-department head of Latin American art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
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