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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...


Emmanuel Ortega

(fl 16th century).

Mexican painter. Gerson’s life and oeuvre has been linked to the Apocalypse of St John frescoes (1562) in the Franciscan church of Tecamachalco in the state of Puebla. The images were first painted on amate (bark paper made from the amate tree) and later transferred to the vaults above the choir where pigments were added in the fresco medium to blend both surfaces together. The cycle came to prominence via the scholarship of Manuel Toussaint, who in 1932 assigned the authorship to a painter from Flanders named Juan Gerson. Since then, the cycle’s authorship, along with Gerson’s identity, has remained a topic of controversy. Starting in the 1960s, art historians Rosa Camelo Arredondo, Jorge Gurría Lacroix, and Constantino Reyes Valerio revised this view stating that Gerson was instead a local indigenous artist. They agreed that Gerson was the principal master behind these images whose technique remains a prime example of how Pre-Columbian and European traditions were intertwined in religious spaces in New Spain....


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 (...