Peruvian Colonial Paintings From the HMA Collection

October 29 - February 19, 2017

The Spanish conquest of Peru in the 16th century brought massive changes to the culture of the region. In addition to the political upheaval that took place, changes in the social and cultural fabric were immense. Backed by Spanish military might, a forced conversion of language, religion, and economic structures took place. Included among the changes was an alteration of the robust artistic tradition that had existed under the Incas and other cultures in the region.

Inca culture, especially in cities such as Cuzco and Lima, had long employed painters to decorate textiles, ceramics and wooden objects and to create murals. When the Spanish arrived, they introduced the concept of oil painting into the culture and utilized the talents of local artists to create works of art that reflected European religious and aesthetic values. Using printed images of European paintings as source material, the artists created a regional style that often included elements of Andean religion and culture within the portrayal of Christian-themed subjects. In addition to serving as suppliers to a thriving market for paintings to hang on the walls of the homes of European settlers, the artists were employed to decorate churches and government buildings in the region.

The Huntington Museum of Art has a small collection of these paintings that was a gift of Jack Neal, Sr. and Irene Caldwell Neal, and Jack Neal, Jr. and Claudia Neal in 1995. The works are primarily religious
in nature and are often embellished with the personalized style of the region through representations of native flowers and birds.

Presented with support from The Isabelle Gwynn and Robert Daine Exhibition Endowment.

This program is being presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

Peruvian Colonial Paintings From the HMA Collection

School of Lima, Follower of Diego de la Puente (Peruvian, early 17th century), Immaculate Virgin and Infant Christ. Oil on copper, 12 x 9 1/2 x 1/8 in. (30.5 x 24.1 x 0.4 cm). Gift of Jack D. Neal, Sr. and Irene Caldwell Neal and Jack D. Neal, Jr. and Claudia H. Neal, 1995.42.4.