Museo del Jade y de la Cultura Precolombina: Costa Rica’s Jade Museum

An interview with Curator Virginia Novoa Espinoza about the museum’s magnificent collection and the artistry of Costa Rica’s pre-Columbian peoples. The Jade Museum (Spanish: Museo del Jade y de la Cultura Precolombina) in San José, Costa Rica houses the world’s largest collection of ancient jade from the Americas. With nearly 7,000 pieces in its collection, the[…]

Early Scientific Exploration in Latin America

The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries saw a growth in the inland exploration of Latin America. Introduction The desire of travelers, mainly European scientists, artists, and writers, was not to settle new frontiers. Many of these regions were colonized, or, in some cases, had even become independent from European imperial powers. Rather, the goal of these[…]

An Introduction to Latin American Art History

From as early as the pre-Columbian era, there existed networks of exchange among the early civilizations of Latin America. Why Is It Important to Study Latin American Art Today? The study of Latin America and Latin American art is more relevant today than ever. In the United States, the burgeoning population of Latinos—people of Latin[…]

An Introduction to the Spanish Viceroyalties in the Americas

The Spanish Crown sent forces to colonize the land, convert the indigenous populations, and extract resources from their newly claimed territory. Introduction “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” These opening lines to a poem are frequently sung by schoolchildren across the United States to celebrate Columbus’s accidental landing on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola[…]

Caste and Politics in the Struggle for Mexican Independence

To understand the struggle for Mexican independence, it’s necessary to explore both the wider, international context and the internal, social conditions of New Spain. Introduction Scholars writing the history of Mexican independence might begin with two straightforward dates: On September 16, 1810, peasants across the countryside responded to Father Miguel Hidalgo’s call to rebellion and[…]

Moldy Church Records in Latin America Document the Lives of Millions of Slaves

Now, intrepid scholars are saving those parish baptismal records from war, neglect, and rot. By Paula Wasley On Sunday, March 2, 1721, in the San Carlos Cathedral of the Cuban city of Matanzas, Father Francisco Gonsales del Alamo laid hands on a black slave named Francisco, to mark his entry into the Catholic Church. Though[…]

Traveling Artists in 19th-Century Latin America: Visions and Views

Visual registers of Latin America acquired new characteristics at the dawning of the 19th century. Introduction Alongside the pointedly secular practice of the scientific Enlightenment, naturalistic in character, there emerged an artistic current that produced images with a strong subjective quality. This American iconography of the 19th century was the work of traveling artists. In[…]