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Annick Benavides

[Bitti, Aloisio Bernardino Giovanni Demócrito]

(b Camerino, the Marches, 1548; d Lima, 1610).

Italian painter and sculptor active in Peru. One of seven children born to Pablo and Cornelia Bitti, Bernardo Bitti commenced formal training in the arts at the age of 14 in Camerino and completed his training in Rome. He was inducted into the Society of Jesus as a Coadjutor Brother on 2 May 1568 at the age of 20. The General of the Society of Jesus, Everardo Mecurián, assigned Bitti to the Viceroyalty of Peru in 1573 at the request of the Jesuit Provincial in Peru, Diego Bracamante, who believed religious imagery would facilitate the Catholic indoctrination of indigenous Andeans at missions. After spending 14 months in Seville, Bitti arrived in Lima on 31 May 1575 and worked there for 8 years. He subsequently embarked on a peripatetic career decorating the interiors of Jesuit sites in Cuzco, Juli, La Paz, Sucre, Potosí, Arequipa, and Ayacucho.

Bitti created the main and lateral altarpieces of the Jesuit provisional church of S Pedro in Lima with the assistance of the Andalusian Jesuit artist Pedro de Vargas (...


Veerle Poupeye

(b St. Ann, 1917; d 2003).

Jamaican painter and sculptor. A self-taught mystic and visionary, unknown until the late 1960s, he drew his artistic inspiration from a very personal interpretation of two Afro-Christian Jamaican cults, Rastafarianism, and Revivalism. His imagery developed through meditation and techniques similar to the automatism of the Surrealists. The curious limestone formations found in Jamaica frequently served as a source of inspiration, as in Bush Have Ears (1976; Kingston, N.G.). He also made ritual objects, such as carved wooden staffs and decorated musical instruments. During the 1970s he worked in close collaboration with his son Clinton Brown (b 1954), who also received substantial critical acclaim.

Poupeye-Rammelaere, V. “The Rainbow Valley: The Life and Work of Brother Everald Brown.” Jamaica Journal 21, no. 2 (May–June 1988): 2–14.Mosquera, G. “Everald Brown.” In Ante América, 25–30. Bogotá, Banco de la República, 1992. Exhibition catalog.Poupeye, V. Caribbean Art. London, 1998.Poupeye, Veerle...



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....


Cristina Gonzalez

(b Villanueva de Barcarrota [now Barcarrota], 1533; d Rome, ?1582).

Spanish missionary, linguist, engraver, and author. Long believed to be the offspring of a Tlaxcaltecan mother and Spanish soldier, evidence now points to Valadés’s birth in Extremadura and immigration to New Spain (Mexico) in 1537. He studied at San José de los Naturales in Mexico City and the College of S. Cruz in Tlatelolco under Pedro de Gante, Juan de Gaona, Francisco Bustamante, and Juan de Folcher. After entering the Franciscan Order, he was missionary to the Chichimeca of northern New Spain. In 1566 he testified in defense of Martín Cortés, Marqués del Valle de Oaxaca, who was then facing charges of treason. By 1572 Valdés was in Spain and, by 1575, was Procurator General of his Order in Rome. While in Europe he published Folcher’s Itinerarium Catholicum (Seville, 1574) and then wrote and published his own magnum opus, Rhetorica Christiana (Perugia, 1579). Illustrated with twenty-seven copper engravings (eight are signed), and dedicated to Pope Gregory XIII, the theological treatise emphasizes memory as the most important component of rhetoric, champions the Franciscan missionary project in New Spain, and stresses the value and use of instructional images for past, present, and future friars. According to the prologue, Valadés hoped his illustrations would serve the illiterate, objectively convey the rites and customs of the indigenous population, and act as mnemonic aids for readers wishing to absorb and recall favorite passages. The best-known engraving depicts an ideal monastery with a large atrium and corner (...