From the late 17th century until the 1820s, vast profits from cattle ranching and the cultivation and trading of tropical crops turned Spanish American elites from cities in the Caribbean basin into some of the wealthiest people in the New World. The production and trading of religious art during this period was centered on high-end pieces for churches, the local nobility, and wealthy individuals; their fine craftsmanship rivaled that of luxury goods imported from Europe. More affordable – and less refined – artworks were produced in large numbers for the homes of people of lesser means.
Painters, sculptors, gilders, silversmiths, and cabinetmakers created pieces of the finest craftsmanship to compete with luxury goods imported from Europe. They benefited from a vast supply of assorted raw materials from the Americas that included not only precious metals such as gold and silver, but also rare wood varieties with colors and grains of unmatched richness, and unique local pigments.
Through 57 paintings, sculpture, silver pieces, furniture, and other decorative devotional objects, this exhibition showcases a wide range of artistic production and the finesse of local masters. It offers an exceptional opportunity to learn more about the daily life and religious practices of colonial Latin America and sheds light on the nature of commercial exchange in the region.
The works are drawn from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection – a component of the Fundación Cisneros which was founded to enhance the appreciation of art from Latin America -- and is co-organized by the Museum of Biblical Art, New York, and Art Services International, Alexandria, Virginia.
Available dates: mid-2016 through 2019
March 18 – April 17
Society of the Four Arts (Palm Beach, Florida)
August 20 - November 13
Loyola University Museum of Art (Chicago, Illinois)
December 3, 2016 - February 26, 2017
Appleton Museum of Art, College of Central Florida (Ocala, Florida)
July 16 - September 24
Dixon Gallery and Gardens (Memphis, Tennessee)
October 14, 2017 - January 7, 2018
Figge Art Museum (Davenport, Iowa)
January 26 - April 22
Middlebury College Museum of Art (Middlebury, Vermont)