Theaters of conversion : religious architecture and Indian artisans in colonial Mexico /
Samuel Y. Edgerton ; with photographs by Jorge Pérez de Lara ; drawings by Mark Van Stone, James E. Ivey, and the author.
1st ed.
Albuquerque : University of New Mexico Press, c2001.
xvii, 350 p. : ill. (some col.), maps ; 27 cm.
More Details
added author
Albuquerque : University of New Mexico Press, c2001.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [330]-344) and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Samuel Y. Edgerton is the Amos Lawrence Professor of Art History at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2002-01-01:
In this enthusiastic study by a noted historian of Italian Renaissance art (Pictures and Punishment, CH, Jul'85; The Heritage of Giotto's Geometry, CH, Mar'92), Edgerton's dual mission is to make better known and appreciated the art and architecture produced in Mexico in the 16th century under the direction of mendicant friars (Franciscans, Dominicans, and Augustinians) and to account for its religious impact on the indigenous people and for its production by native artisans. In pursuit of the first part, he has joined with photographer Jorge Perez de Lara to provide many new color illustrations. In defense of the mendicant enterprise, the author has gone so far as to compare its motives with those of the Peace Corps. His analyses are bold and imaginative; they bring revealing textual and visual material into play, even as they will provoke controversy on many points. Perhaps in an effort to bring this material closer to home, Edgerton devotes the final two of his 11 chapters to the Spanish missions of the US Southwest. The bibliography, like the text, is far ranging though selective. Stimulating reading for all students of Spanish colonial art, this book should be in every library collecting the culture and history of Mexico. General readers; upper-division undergraduates through faculty. C. W. Talbot Trinity University
This item was reviewed in:
Reference & Research Book News, August 2001
Choice, January 2002
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Main Description
Missionary friars arrived in New Spain in 1521 and related their own European architectural and visual arts styles to the tastes and expectations of native Indians, conceiving of conventos as a special architectural theater in which to carry out their proselytizing.
Main Description
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.
Table of Contents
Preface and Acknowledgmentsp. ix
List of Illustrationsp. xiii
Introduction: Art as a Tool of Christian Conversionp. 1
The Millennium of the Mendicant Friarsp. 13
The Cross and the Tree: The Christian Convento as Indian Cosmosp. 35
The Arch and the Cave: Open Chapels in the Yucatanp. 73
Indians and Renaissance Art: Fray Pedro de Gante's School of Art at San Jose de Los Naturalesp. 107
Christian Murals by Indian Artistsp. 129
The Convento as Theater: Medieval Autos and Nahua Neixcuitillip. 155
Stage and Sceneryp. 173
The Cloister as Theater: Adam and Eve Lost in Aztec Paradisep. 207
The Convento as Theater of Memoryp. 237
"El Dorado": The Desolate Desert Conventos of New Mexico, 1598-1700p. 247
Religious Architecture in "Those Most Remote Provinces"p. 271
Notesp. 299
Bibliographyp. 330
Indexp. 345
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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