Theaters of Conversion: Religious Architecture and Indian Artisans in Colonial Mexico / Edition 1

Theaters of Conversion: Religious Architecture and Indian Artisans in Colonial Mexico / Edition 1

by Samuel Y. Edgerton
     
 

Mexico's churches and conventos display a unique blend of European and native styles. Missionary Mendicant friars arrived in New Spain shortly after Cortes's conquest of the Aztec empire in 1521 and immediately related their own European architectural and visual arts styles to the tastes and expectations of native Indians. Right from the beginning the friars

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Overview

Mexico's churches and conventos display a unique blend of European and native styles. Missionary Mendicant friars arrived in New Spain shortly after Cortes's conquest of the Aztec empire in 1521 and immediately related their own European architectural and visual arts styles to the tastes and expectations of native Indians. Right from the beginning the friars conceived of conventos as a special architectural theater in which to carry out their proselytizing. Over four hundred conventos were established in Mexico between 1526 and 1600, and more still in New Mexico in the century following, all built and decorated by native Indian artisans who became masters of European techniques and styles even as they added their own influence. The author argues that these magnificent sixteenth and seventeenth-century structures are as much part of the artistic patrimony of American Indians as their pre-Conquest temples, pyramids, and kivas. Mexican Indians, in fact, adapted European motifs to their own pictorial traditions and thus made a unique contribution to the worldwide spread of the Italian Renaissance.

The author brings a wealth of knowledge of medieval and Renaissance European history, philosophy, theology, art, and architecture to bear on colonial Mexico at the same time as he focuses on indigenous contributions to the colonial enterprise. This ground-breaking study enriches our understanding of the colonial process and the reciprocal relationship between European friars and native artisans.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780826322562
Publisher:
University of New Mexico Press
Publication date:
05/28/2001
Edition description:
1 ED
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
1,281,419
Product dimensions:
8.30(w) x 10.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
List of Illustrations
Introduction: Art as a Tool of Christian Conversion1
Ch. 1The Millennium of the Mendicant Friars13
Ch. 2The Cross and the Tree: The Christian Convento as Indian Cosmos35
Ch. 3The Arch and the Cave: Open Chapels in the Yucatan73
Ch. 4Indians and Renaissance Art: Fray Pedro de Gante's School of Art at San Jose de Los Naturales107
Ch. 5Christian Murals by Indian Artists129
Ch. 6The Convento as Theater: Medieval Autos and Nahua Neixcuitilli155
Ch. 7Stage and Scenery173
Ch. 8The Cloister as Theater: Adam and Eve Lost in Aztec Paradise207
Ch. 9The Convento as Theater of Memory237
Ch. 10"El Dorado": The Desolate Desert Conventos of New Mexico, 1598-1700247
Ch. 11Religious Architecture in "Those Most Remote Provinces"271
Notes299
Bibliography330
Index345

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