Spanish Colonial Art was a remarkable artistic achievement and it was also a paradoxical one. From one side, it was produced in the overseas provinces of the Spanish Empire by colonial artists who had never been in Europe. From the other, it adhered, rather closely, to European aesthetic and content canons. However, this paradox admits of a simple answer: Colonial artists used European engravings as models for their creations.
This month the stunning Monasterio de Santa Catalina (Santa Catalina Monastery) in Arequipa, a 16th century colonial citadel, predominantly built in the Mudejar style and covering two hectares in the city center, will launch an art exhibition illustrating the importance of French engravings in the creation of paintings produced in Colonial Cuzco. Titled _De París a Arequipa: Fuentes Grabadas del Arte Colonial Arequipeño_, the art show will certainly be beautiful and explanatory, as it features more than twenty Cuzco School paintings, alongside the French engravings that inspired them. The engravings were produced in two workshops operating in Paris in the 17th century, placed very close to each other, in the middle of the Parisian Quartier Latin — the University District of the city.
Visitors to this exhibition will also learn more about the daily life and religious practices of colonial Latin America, where the production of religious art was centered on highend pieces for churches, monasteries, local nobility or wealthy individuals. This show will feature two distinct series of paintings. One of them deals with the Life and Miracles of Saint Catherine of Siena, the patron saint of the monastery hosting the show; the other is a series of anchorites, saintly individuals that decided to leave society to lead a life of prayer, penance and religious study.
The art show will run from August 10 to November 15, 2016 and it is a wonderful occasion to enjoy and learn from the arts in the outstanding and quiet environment of this monastery, where flowers bloom all over the place and delicate frescoes decorate the ceilings of the covered walkways that surround the charming plazas painted in yellow, orange, red or blue colours.
Admission is free.
_The art exhibition De París a Arequipa: Fuentes Grabadas del Arte Colonial Arequipeño is organised and curated by Almerindo Ojeda Di Ninno, Director of Project for the Engraved Sources of Spanish Colonial Art (PESSCA)._
For more details, visit colonialart.org
_Jessica de Pomar is an experienced Art Project Consultant for art institutions, having worked internationally for The Art Newspaper (UK), The Museum of Art of Fort Lauderdale (USA), and the Museum of America (Spain), as well as La Molina Borough (Perú). As collaborator for The Art Newspaper, she participated in ARCO Madrid and Art Bassel Miami Beach in several occasions. A Spanish and Peruvian national, she is currently a docent of the Museum of Art of Fort Lauderdale._A must-see art exhibit in the White City.
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