The art of Mexico and Central/South America can trace its roots to the many and varied cultures that prospered throughout the region before the arrival of the Europeans in the 16th century.
Known collectively as Pre-Columbian art, (or before the arrival of Columbus) many fine examples have survived in painted and fired clay, stone, jade, and other materials produced by the Maya, Incas and Aztecs.
The arrival of the Spaniards and Portuguese in the 17th century resulted in a mix of European and indigenous influences on Latin American - most notably in religious efforts to convert the local population to Christianity.
And nowhere was this more evident than in the establishment of the Cuzco School style of painting in Peru which later spread outward throughout the Andes.
With continued colonization, art, architecture, and sculpture took on a unique blend of Native American, African and European influences known today as the rich and complex Latin American mestizo or '"mixed" tradition.
Raimondi Stela, Peruvian
Chavin culture, circa 900 BC.
Detail from Holy Trinity, by Colombian painter Gregorio Vázquez de
Arce y Ceballos, 17th century.
Angel of the Passion, ca. 1799 by Brazilian sculptor/architect Aleijadinho.
La Muerte de Girador en Bárbula by Venezuelan painter
Cristóbal Rojas (1883).
Self-portrait with Thorn Necklace
and Hummingbird, 1940 by
Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.
The Presidential Family,
by Colombian artist
Fernando Botero, 1967.
As colonialism wained in the 19th century, national styles soon emerged on the international art scene with special attention paid to traditional Mexican muralism -- championed by such artists as Diego Rivera -- that enjoyed popularity both before and after the Mexican Revolution.
Rivera's wife, Frida Kahlo, perhaps more famously gained equal recognition for her pioneering efforts in Latin American surrealism, as well as her own poweful self-portraits and depictions of traditional Mexican folk culture. Today, Kahlo's work commands the highest selling price of all Latin American paintings and the second-highest for any female artist worldwide.