The Arts in Latin America, 1492-1820

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Joseph J. Rishel, with Suzanne Stratton-Pruitt


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A magnificent survey of the rich and varied arts in Latin America from 1492 to the end of the colonial era

Essays by Gauvin Alexander Bailey, Clara Bargellini, Dilys E. Blum, Elizabeth Hill Boone, Marcus Burke, Mitchell A. Codding, Thomas B. F. Cummins, Cristina Esteras Martín, M. Concepción García Sáiz, Ilona Katzew, Adrian Locke, Gridley McKim-Smith, Alfonso Ortiz Crespo, Jorge F. Rivas P., Nuno Senos, Edward J. Sullivan, and Marjorie Trusted.

By the end of the 16th century, Europe, Africa, and Asia were connected to North and South America via a vast network of complex trade routes. This led, in turn, to dynamic cultural exchanges between these continents and a proliferation of diverse art forms in Latin America. This monumental book transcends geographic boundaries and explores the history of the confluence of styles, materials, and techniques among Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas through the end of the colonial era––a period marked by the independence movements, the formation of national states, and the rise of academic art.

Written by distinguished international scholars, essays cover a full range of topics, including city planning, iconography in painting and sculpture, East-West connections, the power of images, and the role of the artist. Beautifully illustrated with over 450 works—many published for the first time—this book presents a spectacular selection of decorative arts, textiles, silver, sculpture, painting, and furniture. Scholarly entries on some three hundred works highlight the various cultural influences and differences throughout this vast region. This groundbreaking book also includes an illustrated chronology, informative maps, and an exhaustive bibliography and is sure to set a new standard in the field of Latin American studies.

Joseph J. Rishel is The Gisela and Dennis Alter Senior Curator of European Painting before 1900, Philadelphia Museum of Art. Suzanne Stratton-Pruitt is a scholar of Spanish and Spanish-American art of the 17th and 18th centuries. 


Philadelphia Museum of Art (September 20 – December 31, 2006)

Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso, Mexico City (February 3 – May 6, 2007)

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (June 10 – September 3, 2007)

Royal Academy of Arts, London (Fall 2007)

Royal Academy, London (Fall 2007)

"A comprehensive and complex undertaking involving a remarkable team of international scholars. . . . Eye-opening on many fronts, this magnificent book enhances understanding of a still sharply relevant chapter in global history."—Booklist

"Traces varied styles, media and techniques of Latin American fine art and decorative arts. The aesthetic results are breathtaking."—Lori Verderame,

"The book analyzes and illustrates the fascinating international fusion of architecture and art that evolved in post-Columbian cultures."—Mary Abbe, Minneapolis Star Tribune

"[The] brilliant excess [of the images] is on dazzling display in this book, which covers everything from furniture to textiles to painting, including essays on the colonial city and the Asian influence on Latin American art."—Rachel Hartigan Shea, Washington Post

"This magnificent book . . . offers an in-depth, wide-ranging look at the rich, if still underappreciated, world of Spanish colonial art."—Denver Post (named one of the 50 reads to wrap)

“The many peoples thrown together by the Spanish conquest created vibrant art, rich in religious imagery and indigenous influences, but for a long time, writes curator Joseph J. Rishel in his introduction, ‘dominant opinions based on northern American and European values won out against the perceived excesses and brilliance of the images themselves.’ That brilliant excess is on dazzling display in this book, which covers everything from furniture to textiles to painting, including essays on the colonial city and the Asian influence on Latin American art.”—Rachel Hartigan Shea, Washington Post Book World (Gift Books)


“This volume accompanies the stunning exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Book and show open up a heretofore little-appreciated chapter in the art of the Western Hemisphere.”—Edward J. Sozanski, Philadelphia Inquirer

“One of the most gorgeous art books this year. . . . Masterworks in painting, religious art, silver, textiles and furniture, shown in 431 color illustrations, tell the story of the Spanish cultural and cataclysmic exchange with the New World.”—Elisa Turner, Miami Herald


"Without exception, I found the essays to be fascinating and informative...This book is indispensable, to be savoured in word and image."  - Craig Bunch, The Art Book

"The examples chosen are beautifully reproduced, described, and contextualized within the larger theoretical and historical frameworks of the catalog. . . . Highly recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates through faculty."—Choice

"Beautiful and filled with scholarship by established and younger experts in the field. . . . The book and its component essays are worth celebrating."—Kelly Donahue-Wallace, CAA Reviews

"Mammoth. . . . The largest and arguably the most sumptuous show of colonial-era Latin American art organized anywhere to date."—Claire Farago, Winterthur Portfolio

In addition to enjoying the beautiful images presented in this book, readers will obtain an understanding of the period from texts by internationally acclaimed scholars. The list of contributors reads like a who's who in the field of Latin American art history. . . . The book is a fine addition to any art lover's library."—Bloomsbury Review

Selected for Honorary Mention in the competition for the Association for Latin American Art Book for 2005-2006

Winner of the 2008 Eleanor Tufts Book Award, given by the American Society for Hispanic Art Historical Studies.
ISBN: 9780300120035
Publication Date: November 6, 2006
Publishing Partner: Published in association with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso, Mexico City, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
592 pages, 10 x 12
45 b/w + 431 color illus.

Gauguin, Cézanne, Matisse

Visions of Arcadia

Edited by Joseph J.

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Journeys to New Worlds

Spanish and Portuguese Colonial Art in the Roberta and Richard Huber Collection

Edited by Suzanne L. Stratton-Pruitt, with Mark A.

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Embracing the Contemporary

The Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Collection

Edited by Carlos Basualdo, with Anna Mecugni

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Impressionism and Post-Impressionism

Highlights from the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Jennifer A. Thompson; With contributions by Joseph J.

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