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Myriam A. Ribeiro de Oliveira and Liliana Herrera

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Article

Maria Concepción García Sáiz

(b Zamora, c. 1680; d Mexico City, 1748).

Spanish architect and sculptor, active in Mexico. Between 1702 and 1703 he worked in Madrid as a designer of stage machinery, later moving to Andalusia, where he produced the principal altar of the sacristy of Seville Cathedral in the Rococo style, completed in 1709 (destr. 1824). Ceán Bermúdez described it as having ‘four large estípites, pilasters, lots of angels prankishly tumbling about and a cornice broken and interrupted in a thousand places with tortuous projections and recessions, the whole topped by a huge arch’. In 1714 Balbás also carried out the plan for the choir-stalls of the church of S Juan in Marchena, carved by Juan de Valencia, equally playful in style and similarly using estípites. The same year he designed the lectern in the same church, though this was not constructed until 1735.

Around 1718 Balbás went to Mexico City to take charge of the ‘retablo del Perdón’ in the Chapel of the Kings at the Metropolitan Cathedral, using the ...

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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 ...

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Ricardo Descalzi

[Chili, Manuel ]

(fl Quito, 18th century).

Ecuadorean sculptor. An Indian nicknamed Caspicara (wooden face), he lived in Quito, and his name and work were discovered in 1791 by the doctor and journalist Eugenio Espejo. He was a pupil of Bernardo de Legarda. He is considered the outstanding sculptor of religious images in polychromed wood of the colonial period in Quito because of the delicacy, grace, and feeling that he gave to human expressions and his attention to the details of anatomy and the movement of his figures. The elegant but natural carving of the drapery adds a Baroque quality to his sculptures. The most outstanding of his works in Quito, all of unknown date, include the Four Virtues and the Holy Shroud in Quito Cathedral; St Francis, the Twelve Apostles, and the Assumption of the Virgin in S Francisco; and La Virgen del Carmen, St Joseph, and the Coronation of the Virgin in the Museo Franciscano in Quito. In certain of his works he grouped the figures as if in a painting, as in the ...

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Roberto Pontual

[Valentim, Mestre ]

(b Brazil, c. 1750; d Rio de Janeiro, 1813).

Brazilian sculptor and wood-carver. His earliest surviving works, mainly commissioned from religious fraternities and all located in Rio de Janeiro, date from the late 1770s. His surviving work, typical of the transition from Baroque-Rococo to Neo-classicism, includes the carving on the main altar of the noviciate chapel of the church of Carmo and the altar of the church of S Francisco de Paula; the statues of St John the Evangelist and St Matthew (both Rio de Janeiro, Mus. Hist. N.); the two monumental candelabra in the monastery of S Bento; and the fountains das Marrecas, das Saracuras, and do Lapidário in city squares. His most important work was the large-scale sculptural project that he planned for the Passeio Público in Rio de Janeiro, consisting of terraces with benches tiled with azulejos (glazed tiles), pavilions decorated by the painter Leandro Joaquim (1738–98), waterfalls, four flights of steps, statues of ...

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Jorge Luján-Muñoz

Guatemalan family of sculptors. Antonio Joseph de Gálvez was a master carpenter and mason. Few of his works are known. In 1720 he contracted with S Francisco, Santiago de Guatemala (now Antigua), to make the monumento (altar) used on Maundy Thursdays. He was in charge of the rebuilding of the monastic hospital of S Pedro in Santiago de Guatemala. His son Francisco Javier de Gálvez was also a master carver, whose surviving works show high ability. In 1747 Francisco Javier contracted to make the retable of the Crucifixion (untraced) in the Capilla de Los Reyes in Santiago de Guatemala Cathedral. In 1758 he was commissioned by the church of La Merced in Santiago de Guatemala to make two retables (Guatemala City, La Merced), one of Jesus of Nazareth and the other of Our Lady of Slavery. He also worked in the Real Palacio in the 1760s under the direction of ...

Article

Kelly Donahue-Wallace

[Gil y Pérez, Gerónimo Antonio]

(b Zamora, Spain, Nov 3, 1731; d Mexico City, April 18, 1798).

Spanish printmaker, medallist, and type designer, active in Spain and Mexico. He was one of the first students at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de S Fernando in Madrid (founded 1752), which awarded him a pension to train as a medallist from 1754 to 1758 under Spain’s Engraver General, Tomás Francisco Prieto (1726–82). In 1760 the academy named Gil Académico de Mérito for his medal-engraving skills.

Upon completing his studies, Gil briefly served as drawing instructor at the S Fernando academy but worked principally making copperplate engravings, letter press type, and medals. He was a frequent contributor to luxury books sponsored by the Real Academia de Historia and the S Fernando academy, including the so-called prince’s edition of Don Quixote (1780) and Antigüedades árabes de España (1787). He spent more than 15 years designing type for the Real Biblioteca, and was credited by his peers with rescuing the Spanish type-making industry. The finest works he carried out in Spain included the engraved illustrations for ...

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

Myriam A. Ribeiro de Oliveira and Liliana Herrera

Portuguese family of artists, active in Brazil. The architect (1) Manoel Francisco Lisboa often appears in the history of Brazilian art only as the father of (2) Antônio Francisco Lisboa. He was, however, the leading architect in the gold-mining province of Minas Gerais in the mid-18th century and was responsible for most of the secular and ecclesiastical buildings that give Ouro Prêto (formerly Vila Rica) its present individual appearance. His brother, the carpenter and master mason Antônio Francisco Pombal (fl 1720–45), probably accompanied him on his emigration to Brazil c. 1720. Although there are few documentary references to Pombal, he won fame for his decoration (1736–45) of the nave of the parish church of Pilar in Vila Rica. In a move that was revolutionary for the time, he transformed the traditional rectangular interior of the church into a ten-sided polygon. The architect and sculptor (2) Antônio Francisco Lisboa was the leading Brazilian artist of the colonial period. He became highly influential for the ingenious and original way in which he developed the Rococo religious style that reached Brazil in the mid-18th century....