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MAIN Arrow to Art Art & Culture Arrow to  Art HistoryArt History Arrow to South American Art Latin America
A Mochica Portrait from the Larco Museum 400 A.D.

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.
Raimondi Stela, Peruvian
Chavin culture, circa 900 BC.
Holy Trinity, by Colombian painter Gregorio Vázquez de Arce y Ceballos, 17th century.
Detail from Holy Trinity, by Colombian painter Gregorio Vázquez de
Arce y Ceballos, 17th century.
Angel of the Passion, ca. 1799.
Angel of the Passion, ca. 1799 by Brazilian sculptor/architect Aleijadinho.
.
La Muerte de Girador en Bárbula by Venezuelan painter Cristóbal Rojas (1883).
La Muerte de Girador en Bárbula
by Venezuelan painter
Cristóbal Rojas (1883).
Frida Kahlo, Self-portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, 1940
Self-portrait with Thorn Necklace
and Hummingbird,
1940 by
Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.
The Presidential Family, by Colombian artist Fernando Botero, 1967.
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.

Other important Latin American artists to emerge in the 20th century include Mexico's José Clemente Orozco, Uruguay's Joaquin Torres Garcia, and Colombia's Fernando Botero, among many others.


More about Latin American art history around the Web:

Latin American art - Wikipedia - A comprehensive survey dating back to the pre-Columbian period to the 20th century with related photos, resources.

Latin American Art & Architecture - Here's a kid-friendly survey of the pre-Hispanic period, colonial and 19th century art to the present day, from Scholastic.com.

Museum of Latin American Art - The official site of the Long Beach, CA institution offering online exhibits, visitor information and directions to their contemporary Latin American art collection.

Lords of the Earth - The art, archeology and anthropology of the Americas with a focus on the Maya, Aztec and Incan civilizations.


also see in Travel -> Central America | South America

 

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