The Codex Huexotzinco: Art to Protest Tribute in Colonial New Spain

These images were made in the Spanish viceroyalty of New Spain by Indigenous artist-scribes in 1531 to protest excessive tribute. Introduction The earliest known image of the Madonna and Child made by an Indigenous artist of the Americas shows the Virgin Mary holding the infant Christ against a blue background on a sheet of amatl paper.[…]

Monjas Coronadas: ‘Crowned Nuns’ of Colonial Spanish America

Why were such lavish portraits of nuns created on the occasion of their profession, and who were they for? Introduction One of the most famous types of female portraits in the colonial Spanish Americas are the monjas coronadas, or crowned nuns, so named for the elaborate floral crowns atop their heads. In these portraits, nuns are[…]

Defensive Saints and Angels in the Colonial Spanish Americas

The theme of protection of Christians and the Christian faith was common in the Spanish viceroyalties of New Spain and Peru. Guardian Angels Brandishing a fiery sword, standing in a balletic pose, and stretching almost top to bottom in a painting, an angel protects a young boy. His pink and green clothes flutter behind him[…]

Alonso de Ovalle’s Early Modern ‘Tabula geographica regni Chile’

In 1646, a Chilean man named Alonso de Ovalle published an illustrated text titled Historical account of the Kingdom of Chile. By Dr. Catherine E. BurdickProfessor of Arts and HumanitiesUniversidad Mayor de Chile Introduction What images might enhance a map of a distant land in a remote corner of the world? Might lava-spewing volcanoes, a strutting[…]

Cristóbal de Villalpando’s ‘View of the Plaza Mayor of Mexico City’, 1695

We see an artist attempting to represent the diverse ethnic makeup of the Spanish viceroyalty of New Spain. Introduction In Mexico City’s main plaza, a bustling scene unfolds before our eyes. Horse-drawn carriages carry the city’s elite. Most people are on foot, and some can be seen promenading in a line at the canvas’s bottom[…]

18th-Century Latin American Artistic Pilgrimages to Paris

They followed a similar pattern of studying abroad for a few years and returning home to teach at an academy or establish their own studio. Introduction The allure of Paris has attracted artists from all over the world. In the 19th century, Latin American artists eagerly traveled to this artistic capital, in part because of[…]

The Ancient Mesoamerican Calendar

Works of Mesoamerican art often include references to calendars and time. Introduction We think of calendars as utilitarian—as tools that we all use every day to organize our time. But calendars also tell us a great deal about how the cultures that produce and use them understand and structure their world. Before Spanish conquerors invaded[…]

A History of the Captaincy General of Guatemala

The Kingdom of Guatemala within the wider Spanish Americas, c.1600 (click image to enlarge) / Image by Giggette, Wikimedia Commons Colonization of the area that became the Captaincy General began in 1524. Curated/Reviewed by Matthew A. McIntoshPublic HistorianBrewminate Introduction The Captaincy General of Guatemala (Spanish: Capitanía General de Guatemala), also known as the Kingdom of Guatemala (Spanish: Reino de Guatemala), was[…]

Machu Picchu: The ‘Lost City of the Incas’

Sunrise over Machu Picchu / Photo by Allen Schmidt, Wikimedia Commons Forgotten for centuries by the outside world, this site was brought to international attention by Yale University archaeologist Hiram Bingham, who rediscovered it in 1911. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 09.16.2018 Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Introduction Machu Picchu (Quechua language: Old Mountain; sometimes called[…]

What do “Pre-Columbian” and “Mesoamerica” Mean?

The routes of the four Voyages of Christopher Columbus, 1492-1504 to the Caribbean Islands and the coast of Central America (image: CC BY-SA 3.0) By Dr. Maya Jiménez / 08.19.2016 Adjunct Assistant Professor of Art History Borough of Manhattan Community College What does “pre-Columbian” mean? The original inhabitants of the Americas traveled across what is now known as the Bering Strait,[…]

Envisioning Alternate Futures: Nature in the Making of the Metropolis

Drawing of Alexander von Humboldt’s concept of Naturgemälde: “a microcosm in one page.” Published in Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland, Ideen zu einer Geographer der Planzen nebst einem Naturgemälde der Tropenländer (Tübingen: F.G. Cotta, Paris: F. Schoell, 1807). Source: Wikimedia Commons Creative thinking about the development of Latin American cities to inspire future urban planning. By[…]