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Olle Granath

(b São Paulo, Dec 28, 1928; d Stockholm, Nov 8, 1976).

Swedish painter. Following a childhood spent in Brazil, he moved to Sweden in 1939. He studied archaeology and the history of art, specializing in pre-Columbian manuscripts, and he showed an interest in the theatre. In the early 1950s he worked as a journalist, wrote plays and poems and in 1952 began to paint his first composite pictures. In 1953 Fahlström published a manifesto, Hipy Papy Bthuthdth Thuthda Bthuthdy: Manifesto for Concrete Poetry (Stockholm), which manipulates language irrespective of the meanings of words. He saw an unexploited wealth, both sensual and intellectual, in its phonetic materials and in the distortions that occur when letters are transposed. In the following years he worked mainly on a large painting entitled Ade-Ledic-Nander II (oil, 1955–7; Stockholm, Mod. Mus.), where little hieroglyphic signs are arranged in major, antagonistic groups. Next, he appropriated images from such comic strips as Krazy Kat (for illustration see Comic-strip art...


Wall painting was one of the most common art forms in Mesoamerica (see also Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica), although the fragile nature of the medium means that only very partial information about the tradition survives. Both interior and exterior walls were painted, with programs ranging from simple solid colors to decorative patterns and more complex narrative scenes. Freestanding and architectural sculptures were also often painted, sometimes with the same kinds of colors as the walls, adding to a brightly colored ancient world very different from the way its ruins appear today.

The earliest known paintings from Mesoamerica are not wall paintings but rock paintings, a related tradition that applies pigment directly to exposed rock surfaces. Rock paintings in regions including Nuevo León, Chiapas, and Yucatan may date as early as the Archaic period (c. 7000–1500 BCE). While some rock paintings adopt styles and motifs of contemporary elite cultures, beginning with ...


Patrick Hajovsky

Realistic portraiture was never a dominant concern of Pre-Columbian artists or patrons, who more often sought to convey essential qualities and metaphysical states of being rather than physical appearances. In Mesoamerica as early as 1200 BCE, the Olmec pushed portraiture to notable heights with colossal stone heads, the greatest accumulation occurring at San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan. Yet, overall, Olmec sculptures exhibit a range of representational strategies from realism to abstraction. Among the Maya, portraiture makes its starkest emergence in the 7th century at Palenque under Pakal the Great (see fig.). By and large, however, Maya stelae, relief panels, and jade masks do not favor physiognomic realism over idealism, especially surrounding ideas of divine kingship. In exchange, the actual physical appearance of kings was manipulated to fit ideals that are paralleled in sculpture, such as in the case of the stucco portrait of Pakal, who dons a false nose and an upward hairstyle to resemble a maize cob. In narrative relief sculptures depicting Maya men and women, physiognomic features may also have been associated with blood lineage, thus making their rendition important for establishing rule through phenotype....


(b Santiago, 1931).

Chilean painter and ceramist. A self-taught painter, in the 1950s and 1960s he based his landscape motifs and colors on the Andes, using very simple forms suggestive of Pre-Columbian textiles in their flat, abstract designs and balanced chromatic effects. It was a question of subjecting archetypal shapes to a subtle and rational play of color. While remaining committed to a careful technique in both his oil paintings and pastels, Yrarrázaval fundamentally changed direction in 1973, when he began to represent isolated and suspended figures undergoing gradual deterioration: faceless and with their bodies swollen as if by internal pressure, they appear to have lost their identity, leaving behind only realistically painted shirts, collars, and ties. The suggestion is of a collective anonymity, an identity crisis embodied in purely external human gestures revealed through social rituals and through the status and prestige accorded to dress and fashion. Yrarrázaval continued in these works to emphasize the material quality of his paintings and the strong three-dimensional illusion of his forms, relying exclusively on the palette knife to reveal or conceal forms by a meticulous modeling of light and shade....