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Article

Jorge Luján-Muñoz

(b Guatemala City, Sept 16, 1781; d Guatemala City, Nov 21, 1845).

Guatemalan painter, printmaker, and medallist. He entered the mint in 1795 as an apprentice engraver but on the recommendation of its director, Pedro Garci-Aguirre, also became Master Corrector at the Escuela de Dibujo de la Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País, Guatemala City, in 1796, holding the post until 1804. He continued working at the mint until 1809 and demonstrated outstanding skill both as a medallist and engraver of coins and as an engraver and etcher. He returned to the mint in 1823 as second engraver, remaining in the post until his death.

Despite the quality of his work as a printmaker and medallist, Cabrera gained artistic recognition especially as a miniature painter, working mostly in watercolour on ivory in a meticulous technique. He produced some miniatures on religious themes and others of birds, but the majority, measuring no more than 50 mm in height or width, were portraits of members of the Guatemalan aristocracy and bourgeoisie. It is not known exactly how many he produced, but from the middle of the 1830s he began to number them, starting from 500; the highest known number of the approximately 200 authenticated miniatures is 745. Although he suffered some illness, he was most productive during the last five years of his life. An evolution can be discerned from his earliest works, dating from ...

Article

Argentinian, 18th century, male.

Born c. 1740, in Salta.

Painter, sculptor. History painting.

Tomás Cabrera was the creator of an historic picture of great significance to Argentina: Tomás Matorras, Governor of Tucuman, and the Cacique, Paykin, Signing the Peace in Chaco, dated 1774.

Buenos Aires (Mus. Histórico Nacional): ...

Article

Fine arts institutions with a structured curriculum led by professors or directors, financed by the Spanish monarchy in colonial times and national governments thereafter. Academies of fine arts in Latin America descend from mid-18th-century developments in Spain, which were based on the model of the French royal academies founded in the 17th century. The Spanish monarchy sponsored a number of drawing schools and three royal art academies in the second half of the 18th century, including the academies of S Fernando in Madrid (1752), S Carlos in Valencia (1768), and S Luis in Saragossa (1793). Academic practice could be distinguished from artistic training under an artist’s workshop in which apprentices lived with a master for a number of years and copied his or her style on a path to possibly obtaining a master artist’s status. In the academy, professors (or directors) led students in a structured curriculum organized around the idea of the ...

Article

Ricardo Descalzi

(b Quito, ?end of the 17th century; d Quito, May 31, 1773).

Ecuadorean wood-carver and painter. He was a pupil of José Olmos, and he set up his workshop in Quito facing the Franciscan monastery for which he worked. A versatile artist, he was also active as a gold- and silversmith, printer, and gunsmith. In 1736 Legarda carved his masterful Virgin of the Apocalypse or Winged Virgin of Quito (Quito, S Francisco), which was inspired by a painting by Miguel de Santiago. Legarda’s fine work reflects the mystical fervour of the legend it depicts. The twisting figure of the Virgin, trampling the head of a dragon underfoot, is balanced by her outspread arms and wings. Her face reflects the beauty of the mestiza, the mixed-race woman of Quito. Elsewhere in Quito, Legarda carved the Baroque altarpieces for the church of La Merced, the hospital and the churches of the Carmen Moderno and Cantuña, as well as the Crucifixion in this last church. In ...

Article

Venezuelan, 18th century, male.

Born 23 June 1724, in Caracas; died 1787.

Painter, sculptor, gilder.

Juan Pedro López embodies the Creole prosperity and nationalism characteristic of Venezuela in the second half of the 18th century when Venezuela made the transition from a quasi-medieval form of expression to a post-Renaissance style. López and Landaeta were the main representatives of this development. The most important painter in Caracas in the second half of the 18th century, according to Alfredo Boulton, López was also a prolific artist, producing over 150 oil paintings during his 40 year career. This abundance reflects the strong economic development enjoyed in Venezuela at this period. Most of his commissions were for churches in Caracas, particularly the cathedral for which he painted an ...

Article

Mónica Martí Cotarelo

(María)

(b Puebla, 1789; d Puebla, 1860).

Mexican architect, sculptor, painter, lithographer, and teacher. He was the leading figure in Puebla in the fields of architecture, sculpture, painting, and drawing during the early 19th century. He was director of the Academia de Dibujo in Puebla from its foundation in 1814 and the first recipient of a scholarship from the academy, which allowed him to go to Paris (1824–1827), where he studied architecture, drawing, and lithography. He also visited museums, factories, and prisons, intending to introduce French developments and systems into Puebla. On his return to Mexico he devoted himself to intense public activity, architectural reform, painting, lithography, and teaching, and experiments in industrialized production. Among his most important sculptural works is the completion (1819) of the ciprés (altarpiece with baldacchino) for Puebla Cathedral, which had been left unfinished on the death of Manuel Tolsá. It combines a high altar, a sepulchral monument, and a sanctuary of the Virgin, and it is one of the most spectacular examples of Mexican neoclassicism. From ...

Article

Santos  

James Cordova and Claire Farago

Term that refers to handmade paintings and sculptures of Christian holy figures, crafted by artists from the Hispanic and Lusophone Americas. The term first came into widespread use in early 20th-century New Mexico among English-speaking art collectors to convey a sense of cultural authenticity. Throughout the Americas, the term imagenes occurs most frequently in Spanish historical documents. Santos are usually painted on wood panels (retablos) or carved and painted in the round (bultos). Reredos, or altarpieces, often combine multiple retablos and bultos within a multi-level architectural framework.

European Christian imagery was circulated widely through the Spanish viceroyalties in the form of paintings, sculptures, and prints, the majority of which were produced in metropolitan centres such as Mexico City, Antigua, Lima, and Puebla, where European- and American-born artists established guilds and workshops. These became important sources upon which local artists elsewhere based their own traditions of religious image-making using locally available materials such as buffalo hides, vegetal dyes, mineral pigments, and yucca fibres, commonly employed by native artists long before European contact....

Article

Mexican, 18th – 19th century, male.

Born 13 October 1759, in Celaya; died 3 August 1833, in Celaya.

Sculptor, painter, architect.

Tresguerras sculpted and decorated ornaments for the church in Celaya.

Article

Ramón Gutiérrez

(b Celaya, Oct 13, 1759; d Celaya, Aug 3, 1833).

Mexican architect, painter, engraver, and sculptor. He studied painting under Miguel Cabrera at the Real Academia de las Nobles Artes de S Carlos in Mexico City but did not graduate. He subsequently took up wood-carving and engraving. He learnt the elements of architecture from the Jesuits, who gave him a copy of the writings of Jacopo Vignola. His architecture exhibits a familiarity with the classic treatises, although he never visited Europe. Tresguerras’s first major work (1780s) was the reconstruction in Neo-classical style of the convent church of S Rosa, Querétaro, originally consecrated in 1752. The dome over the crossing is set on a drum articulated by rusticated columns, which flank a series of round-headed openings. He is also credited with remodelling the interior of the convent church of S Clara, Querétaro, and with constructing the Neptune Fountain (1802–7) in the plaza in front of it. The god stands under a triumphal arch, while water pours through the mouth of a fish at his feet. Tresguerras also completed (...