Friday, May 24, 2013


Madonna of Belen
As I prepare for my second trip to Northern Peru, I present some of the glorious art I will see in the lovely Churches there. This area does not have its own tradition of Church art, so most of what I will see is from another place to the south.

The Trinity with Saints
The most famous Catholic art in Peru period is from the Colonial period from the 16th to 18th Centuries. The Cuzco School is a Roman Catholic artistic tradition based in Cuzco, Peru. The European influence in these paintings came from the Spanish who tried to convert the Incas to Catholicism.

Paintings are characterized by their exclusive use of religious images, lack of perspective, and the predominance of red, yellow, and earth colors. They also use a lot of gold leaf. The subjects are usually depicted in native flora and fauna as a backdrop, the most common is of the Virgin Mary, sometimes with the Child Jesus.

Madonna with Alpacas
My favorite is Madonna with Alpacas. She was painted by an unknown artist. Note the gold leaf highlighting. The Madonna has her eyes downcast, which suggests that she was painted by an Indian artist.

The Spanish painters who arrived at the Viceroyalty of Peru taught their techniques to the local artists, and they began to shape on linen cloths their own representations, creating a new iconographic interpretation of the Peruvian reality. Most of these paintings were created anonymously because of Pre-Columbian traditions that define art as communal.

Chapel- University Piura

The established school was commissioned to paint sacred art in churches and monasteries throughout the Peruvian city of Cuzco after the area was devastated by an earthquake in 1650. The collected efforts of numerous artists gradually evolved into a unique yet harmonious and consistent style, devoid of individualism. These paintings are usually not signed, but represent traditional depictions of the religious subjects most important to the local indigenous and Hispanic populations.

St. Joseph with Child Jesus

St Michael Archangel (A very popular figure)

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