The Cusco School (Escuela Cuzqueña) or Cuzco School, was a Roman Catholic artistic tradition based in Cusco, Peru (the former capital of the Inca Empire) during the Colonial period, in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. It was not limited to Cuzco only, but spread to other cities in the Andes, as well as to present day Ecuador and Bolivia.
There are high amount of Cusco School's paintings preserved, currently most of them are located at Cusco, but also currently there are in the rest of Peru and in museums of Brazil, England and United States.
The tradition originated after the 1534 Spanish conquest of the Peru, and it is considered the first artistic center that systematically taught European artistic techniques in the Americas. The Spanish contribution, and in general European, to the Cusco School of painting, is given from very early time, when the construction of the Cathedral of Cusco begins. However, It is the arrival of the Italian painter Bernardo Bitti in 1583, the one that marks a first moment of the development of Cuzqueño art. This Jesuit introduces in Cusco one of the fashionable currents in Europe of then, the Mannerism, whose main characteristics were the treatment of figures in a somewhat elongated way, with the light focused on them.
During his two stays in Cusco, Bitti was commissioned to make the main altarpiece of the church of his Order, replaced by another after the earthquake, and painted some masterpieces, as The Coronation of the Virgin, currently in the museum of the church of La Merced, and the Virgen del pajarito, in the cathedral.
Another of the great exponents of Cusqueño mannerism is the painter Luis de Riaño, born in Lima and a disciple of Italian Angelino Medoro. In the words of the Bolivians historians José de Mesa and Teresa Gisbert, authors of the most complete history of Cuzqueño Art, Riaño lords in the local artistic environment between 1618 and 1640, leaving, among other works, the murals of the church of Andahuaylillas. Also it emphasizes in these first decades of 17th century, the muralist Diego Cusihuamán, with works in the churches of Chinchero and Urcos.
The Baroque in the Cuzqueña painting is mainly the result of the influence of the Tenebrism trending through the work of Francisco de Zurbarán and of the use as a source of inspiration of the engravings with Felmish art from Antwerp. Marcos Ribera, born in Cusco in 1830, is the maximum exponent of this tendency. Five of apostles of him can be seen in the church of San Pedro, two in the altarpiece and another in a side reredos. The monastery of Santa Catalina of Arequipa keeps La Piedad, and that of St. Francis, some of the canvases that illustrate the life of the founder of the Order, belonging to various authors.
The increasing activity of Indian-Quechua and mestizo painters towards the end of 17th century, makes the term of Cusco School conform more strictly to this artistic production. This painting is "Cuzqueña", otherwise, not only because it comes from the hands of local artists, but mainly because it moves away from the influence of the predominant trending in European art and follows its own path.
This new Cuzqueño art is characterized, in the thematic, by the interest in Costumbrista subjects as, for example, the procession of Corpus Christi, and by the presence, for the first time, of Andean flora and fauna. A series of portraits of Indian caciques and genealogical and heraldic paintings also appear. As for the technical treatment, there is a misunderstanding of the perspective added to a fragmentation of the space in several concurrent spaces or compartmentalized scenes. New chromatic solutions, with a predilection for the intense colors, they are another typical feature of the nascent pictorial style.
An event occurred at the end-17th century, was decisive for the direction taken by Cuzqueña painting. In 1688, after permanent conflicts, there is a rupture in the corporation of painters that ends with the removal of the Indian-Quechua and Mestizo painters due, according to them, to the exploitation they were subjected by their Spanish colleagues. From this moment, free of the impositions of the corporation, the Indian and mestizo artists are guided by their own sensibility and transfer to the canvas their mentality and their way of conceiving the world.
The most famous series of the Cuzco School is undoubtedly that of the sixteen paintings of the Corpus Christi series, which originally were in the church of Santa Ana and are now in the Museum of Religious Art of the Archbishopric of Cusco, except for three that are in Chile. From an anonymous painter of the late-17th century (some researchers attribute them to the workshops of Diego Quispe Tito and Pumacallao), these canvases are considered true masterpieces because of the richness of their color, the quality of the drawing and how well they achieved the portraits of the main characters of each scene. The series has enormous historical and ethnographic value, because it shows in detail the various social strata of Colonial Cusco, as well as a large number of other elements of a ferstival that already then it was central in the life of the city.
The most original and important Indian painter is Diego Quispe Tito, born in the parish of San Sebastián, near to Cusco, in 1611 and active almost until end the century. It is in the work of Diego Quispe Tito that some of the characteristics of Cuzqueña painting will be prefigured, as a certain freedom in the handling of perspective, a previously unknown role of the landscape and the abundance of birds in the leafy trees that are part of the same. The motive of the birds, especially the Amazon forest's parrot, is interpreted by some researchers as it refers to the Inca nobility.
The most valuable part of Quispe Tito's work is located in the church of his native town, San Sebastián. Highlights the series of twelve compositions on the life of St. John the Baptist, in the main nave of the church. Of great mastery are also the two enormous canvases dedicated to Saint Sebastian, that of the asaetamiento and that of the death of the saint. Famous is, finally, the series of the Zodiac that the artist paints for the Cathedral of Cuzco towards 1680.
Another outstanding painter of Cusco School is Basilio Santa Cruz Pumacallao, of indigenous ancestry like Quispe Tito, but unlike him, much more attached to the canons of Western painting within the Baroque current. Active in the second half of the 17th century, Santa Cruz leaves the best of his work in the Cathedral of Cusco, as he is commissioned to decorate the walls on the side of the choir and the arms of the transept. In the picture of the Virgin of Bethelem, located in the choir, there is a portrait of the bishop and patron Manuel de Mollinedo y Angulo that help quite to the developing of the Cusco Painting School and the city.
Such is the fame reached by the Cusqueña painting of the 17th century, which during the following century produces a singular phenomenon that, curiously, left its mark not only in art but in the local economy. We refer to the industrial workshops that make canvases in large quantities by order of merchants who sell these works in cities such as Trujillo, Ayacucho, Arequipa and Lima, or even in much more distant places, in the current Argentina, Chile and Bolivia. The painter Mauricio García, active towards the mid-18th century, signs, for example, a contract to deliver about five hundred canvases in seven months. Of course it was what was known as "ordinary" painting to differentiate it from the painting of fine brocateado, with a much more elaborate and colorful design.
The most important artist of the 18th century is Marcos Zapata. His pictorial output, which spans more than 200 paintings, ranges between 1748 and 1764. The best are the fifty large canvases that cover the high arches of the Cathedral of Cusco and that are characterized by the abundance of flora and fauna as a decorative element.
The Cuzqueña paintings were a form of religious art whose main purpose was didactic. The Spanish, who aimed to convert the Incas to Catholicism, sent a group of religious artists to Cusco. These artists formed a school for Quechua people and mestizos, teaching them drawing and oil painting. The designation "Cusqueña," however, is not limited to the city of Cusco or to indigenous artists, as Spanish creoles participated in the tradition as well.
A major patron of the Cuzco artists was Bishop Manuel de Mollinedo y Angulo, who collected European art and made his collection available to Peruvian artists. He promoted and financially assisted such Cusqueña artists such as Basilio Santa Cruz Pumacallao, Antonio Sinchi Roca Inka, and Marcos Rivera.
Cusco School paintings were made by mestizos, Quecha-Indians and Whites-creoles.
Cusqueña paintings are characterized by their use of exclusively religious subjects, their lack of perspective, and the predominance of red, yellow and earth colors. They are also remarkable for their lavish use of gold leaf, especially with images of the Virgin Mary. Though the Cusqueño painters were familiar with prints of Byzantine, Flemish and Italian Renaissance art, their works were freer than those of their European tutors; they used bright colors and distorted, dramatic images. They often adapted the topics to depict their native flora and fauna as a backdrop in their works.
Most Cusqueña paintings were created anonymously because of Pre-Columbian traditions that define art as communal. An exception is one of the last members of the Cuzco School, Marcos Zapata (c. 1710-1773). Other known artists of the Cuzco School include Diego Cusihuamán, Gregorio Gamarra, Basilio Santa Cruz Pumacallao (1635-1710), and Antonio Sinchi Roca Inka. Related to the school is the Master of Calamarca, in 18th century, Bolivia.
The largest collection of paintings from the Cuzco school is in the Cathedral of Santo Domingo (Cusco). The Lima Art Museum and the Inca Museum also house important collections.
A large number of works were destroyed in the 18th century so there is a limited supply of Cuzco school paintings. In recent years there has been a significant increase in demand from both Latin American art collectors and certain museums for paintings from the Cusco school period. In 2010, the American government repatriated two Cusco and Lima style paintings to Peru that had been illegally brought into the United States in 2005.
There is a known project to national level called "Vírgenes Urbanas" in which the paintings of the Cusco school are recreated replacing the bodies by Indigenous people, as well as Indigenous angels, Virgin Marys and saints like Rose of Lima with new Indigenous faces in order to represent the current Peruvian population. In addition to the paintings, they also do Indigenous photo montages on recreations of the paintings. According to them, the Cusco School is a symbol of the power of the colonizer "representing images with Caucasian features, imposing ideas, religion and Western stereotypes" and the project re-poses them with new signs that refer directly to the descendants of the former victims.
Today Peruvians paints replicas of Colonial Cusco paintings that sell to tourists.
Andean Baroque (Spanish: Barroco andino or arquitectura mestiza) is an artistic movement that appeared in the Viceroyalty of Peru (South America) between 1680 and 1780. It is located geographically between Arequipa and Lake Titicaca in what is now Peru and Bolivia, where rules over the highlands and spreads over the entire altiplano. From the Portuguese word barrueco meaning impure, mottled, flamboyant, daring, the most striking example of Andean Baroque art is in religious architecture, where indigenous craftsmen gave it a unique character, as happened in the New Spanish Baroque.Antonio Sinchi Roca Inka
Antonio Sinchi Roca Inka (17th century), was a Quechua painter from Peru and part of the Cuzco School.Atahualpa
Atahualpa (), also Atahuallpa, Atabalipa (in Hispanicized spellings) or Atawallpa (Quechua) (c. 1502–26 July 1533) was the last Inca Emperor. After defeating his brother, Atahualpa became very briefly the last Sapa Inca (sovereign emperor) of the Inca Empire (Tawantinsuyu) before the Spanish conquest.
Before Huayna Capac died in Quito (possibly due to smallpox), he appointed Ninan Coyuchi and Yao as his successor. Ninan also died of the same disease, without his father's knowledge. The Cusquenian nobles named Huáscar (another son of Huayna) as Sapa Inca, and he appointed his brother Atahualpa as governor of Quito. Huáscar declared war on Atahualpa, for fear that he would try to carry out a coup d'état against him. Atahualpa became Inca emperor after he defeated and imprisoned Huáscar and massacred any pretenders to the throne at the close of the civil war. Later, while imprisoned by the Spaniards, Atahualpa gave orders to kill Huáscar in Jauja, thinking Huáscar would use the Spaniards as allies to regain his throne.During the Spanish conquest, the Spaniard Francisco Pizarro captured Atahualpa and used him to control the Inca Empire. Eventually, the Spanish executed Atahualpa, effectively ending the empire. A succession of emperors, who led the Inca resistance against the invading Spaniards, claimed the title of Sapa Inca as rulers of the Neo-Inca State, but the empire began to disintegrate after Atahualpa's death.Basilio Santa Cruz Pumacallao
Basilio Pacheco de Santa Cruz Pumacallao (1635–1710) was a Mestizo painter from Cusco, Peru. He was part of the Cuzco School, a colonial movement of indigenous painters educated in the Baroque religious painting tradition of Spain.Casa del Moral
The "Casa del Moral" (House of the Moral) is a large ancestral house built around 1730 in Arequipa, Peru. Favored by tourists, it is one of the best and well-preserved samples of andean baroque civil architecture in Peru. The name of the house derives from the emblematic presence of a centennial tree of "moras" (Mulberry) in the center of the main patio of the large house.
The Casa del Moral houses a collection of paintings from the "Escuela Cusqueña" (Cusco School), a colonial art form. Its library contains more than 3,000 volumes, primarily hispanic literature.The house is currently the property of the Peruvian bank Bancosur.Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity, Huancayo
The Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity (Spanish: Catedral de la Santísima Trinidad) also called Huancayo Cathedral It is the largest church in the city of Huancayo in Peru. It is located in the west of the Constitutión Square, it is neoclassical and inside preserves paintings from the Cusco School of painting. It is seat of the Archbishop of Huancayo.
This temple, known initially as Matriz Temple, was built on land donated by remarkable neighbors. Its construction began on March 18, 1799 ending March 18, 1831. By bull of Pope Pius XII it was elevated to Cathedral Church in 1955 thus surpassing another remarkable huancaína church, the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. It is consecrated to the Holy Trinity, to whom the city of Huancayo was dedicated in 1572.Cusco
Cusco (Spanish: Cuzco [ˈkusko]; Quechua: Qusqu, Qosqo [ˈqʊsqʊ], [ˈqɔsqɔ]), often spelled Cuzco (), is a city in southeastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of the Cusco Region and of the Cusco Province. In 2017, the city had a population of 428,450. Located on the eastern end of the Knot of Cuzco, its elevation is around 3,400 m (11,200 ft).
The site was the historic capital of the Inca Empire from the 13th until the 16th-century Spanish conquest. In 1983 Cusco was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO with the title "City of Cuzco". It has become a major tourist destination, hosting nearly 2 million visitors a year. The Constitution of Peru designates it as the Historical Capital of Peru.Diego Quispe Tito
Diego Quispe Tito (1611–1681) was a Quechua painter from Peru. He is considered the leader of the Cuzco School of painting.Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús, Cusco
The Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús (Church of the Society of Jesus) is a historic Jesuit church in Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, in Cusco Region, Peru. It is situated in the Plaza de Armas de Cusco, the city center. It is built on a Inca palace. It is one of the best examples of Spanish Baroque architecture in Peru. The architecture of this building exerted a great influence on the development of Baroque architecture in the South Andes. Its construction began in 1576, but it was badly damaged in an earthquake in 1650. The rebuilt church was completed in 1668.Manco Cápac
Manco Cápac (Quechua: Manqu Qhapaq, "the royal founder"), also known as Manco Inca and Ayar Manco was, according to some historians, the first governor and founder of the Inca civilization in Cusco, possibly in the early 13th century. He is also a main figure of Inca mythology, being the protagonist of the two best known legends about the origin of the Inca, both of them connecting him to the foundation of Cusco. His main wife was Mama Uqllu, also mother of his son and successor Sinchi Ruq'a. Even though his figure is mentioned in several chronicles, his actual existence remains unclear.Marcos Zapata
For the comic book character, see Relampago.
Marcos Zapata (c. 1710-1773), also called Marcos Sapaca Inca, was a Peruvian Quechua painter, born in Cuzco. He was one of the last members of the Cuzco School, an art center in which Spanish painters taught native students to paint religious works. Zapata introduced elements from his own lands into his paintings. For instance, his 1753 rendering of the Last Supper shows Jesus and his disciples gathering around a table laid with cuy and glasses of chicha.
Between 1748 and 1764, Zapata painted at least 200 works. 24 of them portrayed the life of Saint Francis of Assisi for the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin of Santiago, Chile. He painted 50 linen cloths with the Laurentina Litany for the Cathedral of Santo Domingo, Cusco. Red and blue were prominent colors in his palette.His influential style developed between 1748 and 1773. He is known for his beautiful portraits of the Virgin Mary, almost always surrounded by cherubim. Zapata incorporated allegorical subjects in his Madonnas. Christoph Thomas Scheffler wrote in 1732, that the painter was inspired by prints of the subject. His compositions are didactic, with a relatively simple reading of complex theological concepts.By order of the Jesuits, Zapata created another similar series of painting, assisted by his apprentice, Cipriano Gutiérrez. These included an enthroned Virgin, which Zapata finished in 1764 for the Parish of the Almudena. His majestic representation enjoyed enormous acceptance, judging by the large numbers of copies and variants that circulated in throughout the region. The fame of Zapata widely extended the limits of Cuzco, and its sphere of influence extended through Peru, Chile, and northern Argentina. The art of this teacher was continued in later decades by several of his followers, including Antonio Vilca and Ignacio Chacón.Martín Chambi
Martín Chambi Jiménez or Martín Chambi de Coaza, (Puno, Peru November 5, 1891 – Cuzco, September 13, 1973) was a photographer, originally from southern Peru. He was one of the first major indigenous Latin American photographers.
Recognized for the profound historic and ethnic documentary value of his photographs, he was a prolific portrait photographer in the towns and countryside of the Peruvian Andes. As well as being the leading portrait photographer in Cuzco, Chambi made many landscape photographs, which he sold mainly in the form of postcards, a format he pioneered in Peru.In 1979, New York's MOMA held a Chambi retrospective, which later traveled to various locations and inspired other international expositions of his work.Master of Calamarca
The Master of Calamarca (fl. first half of 18th century) was a Bolivian artist who created two series of angels painted on the walls of a catholic church in Calamarca, Bolivia in the Department of La Paz. His works were stylistically close to earlier master Leonardo Flores from La Paz (fl. last quarter of 17th century).The Calamarca church contains two sets of angels, most likely created by the same person. The first contains militant Ángel arcabuceros wielding firearms, with each angel's name written clearly at the bottom; the paintings of the Calamarca church are the most renowned, definitive examples of Ángel arcabucero type and Bolivian angel types in general. The second set depicts androgynous angels wearing billowing capes, elaborate short European-style female dresses and Roman military boots. They are unsigned, but each is carrying an object uniquely identifying the subject as one of Archangels of Palermo. According to a tradition stemming from medieval Palermo, these were seven archangels, venerated in Spain, although only three were recognized by the Church.Exact identity of the artist is unknown; Donahue-Watson identified him as probably Jose Lopez de los Rios, and dated his works 1660–1680s, while Rishel and Stratton date the works of the unknown Master as first half of 18th century.Peru
Peru ( (listen); Spanish: Perú [peˈɾu]; Quechua: Piruw Republika [pʰɪɾʊw]; Aymara: Piruw Suyu [pɪɾʊw]), officially the Republic of Peru (Spanish: República del Perú ), is a country in western South America. It is bordered in the north by Ecuador and Colombia, in the east by Brazil, in the southeast by Bolivia, in the south by Chile, and in the west by the Pacific Ocean. Peru is a megadiverse country with habitats ranging from the arid plains of the Pacific coastal region in the west to the peaks of the Andes mountains vertically extending from the north to the southeast of the country to the tropical Amazon Basin rainforest in the east with the Amazon river.Peruvian territory was home to several ancient cultures. Ranging from the Norte Chico civilization in the 32nd century BC, the oldest civilization in the Americas and one of the five cradles of civilization, to the Inca Empire, the largest state in pre-Columbian America, the territory now including Peru has one of the longest histories of civilization of any country, tracing its heritage back to the 4th millennia BCE.
The Spanish Empire conquered the region in the 16th century and established a viceroyalty that encompassed most of its South American colonies, with its capital in Lima. Peru formally proclaimed independence in 1821, and following the military campaigns of José de San Martín and Simón Bolívar, and the decisive battle of Ayacucho, Peru secured independence in 1824. In the ensuing years, the country enjoyed relative economic and political stability, which ended shortly before the War of the Pacific with Chile. Throughout the 20th century, Peru endured armed territorial disputes, coups, social unrest, and internal conflicts, as well as periods of stability and economic upswing. Alberto Fujimori was elected to the presidency in 1990; his government was credited with economically stabilizing Peru and successfully ending the Shining Path insurgency, though he was widely accused of human rights violations and suppression of political dissent. Fujimori left the presidency in 2000 and was charged with human rights violations and imprisoned until his pardon by President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in 2017. Even after the president's regime, Fujimori's followers, called Fujimoristas, have caused political turmoil for any opposing faction in power, even causing Pedro Pablo Kuczynski to resign in March 2018.
The sovereign state of Peru is a representative democratic republic divided into 25 regions. It is classified as an emerging market with a high level of human development and an upper middle income level with a poverty rate around 19 percent. It is one of the region's most prosperous economies with an average growth rate of 5.9% and it has one of the world's fastest industrial growth rates at an average of 9.6%. Its main economic activities include mining, manufacturing, agriculture and fishing; along with other growing sectors such as telecommunications and biotechnology. The country forms part of The Pacific Pumas, a political and economic grouping of countries along Latin America's Pacific coast that share common trends of positive growth, stable macroeconomic foundations, improved governance and an openness to global integration. Peru ranks high in social freedom; it is an active member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Pacific Alliance, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the World Trade Organization; and is considered as a middle power.Peru has a population of 32 million, which includes Amerindians, Europeans, Africans and Asians. The main spoken language is Spanish, although a significant number of Peruvians speak Quechua or other native languages. This mixture of cultural traditions has resulted in a wide diversity of expressions in fields such as art, cuisine, literature, and music.Saint James Matamoros
Saint James the Moor-slayer (Spanish: Santiago Matamoros) is the name given to the representation (painting, sculpture, etc.) of the apostle James, son of Zebedee as a legendary, miraculous figure who appeared at the also legendary Battle of Clavijo, helping the Christians conquer the Muslim Moors. The story was invented centuries after the alleged battle was supposed to have taken place. "Matamoros" is not a name nor an advocation of the saint. Aspects of the historical Battle of Monte Laturce (859) were incorporated into this legend of the battle of Clavijo, as Claudio Sánchez-Albornoz demonstrated in 1948. Historian Jean Mitchell-Lanham says: "While this event is based on legend, the supposed battle has provided one of the strongest ideological icons in the Spanish national identity."In the 17th century, followers of his cult (Santiaguistas) proposed the patronage of Spain under his name, in contrast to those who favored Teresa of Ávila. The Santiaguistas overcame and won this religious debate, naming him the Patron Saint of Spain, until November 1760 when Pope Clement XIII rescinded this honor and officially declared the Immaculate Conception as the patroness of Spain as a country, and installed the historical apostle James as patron of the Spaniards.Ángel arcabucero
An ángel arcabucero (arquebusier angel) is an angel depicted with an arquebus (an early muzzle-loaded firearm) instead of the sword traditional for martial angels, dressed in clothing inspired by that of the Andean nobles and aristocrats. The style arose in the Viceroyalty of Peru in the second half of 17th century and was especially prevalent in the Cuzco School.
In his work Ángeles apócrifos de la América Virreinal (1992), Ramón Mujica Pinilla noted the link between ángeles arcabuceros and certain winged warriors from the pre-Hispanic pantheon. The good reception that these works found among indigenous people of the era may be due in part to the ease with which they could identify these winged warriors with their ancient gods and heroes. According to Kelly Donahue-Wallace, the genre probably originated in the Collao region, near Lake Titicaca, and were actually based on Spanish and Dutch engravings. Some of these European prints depicted apocryphal archangels, condemned by the Church, but apocryphal motifs survived in the Andes. Another probable source for the angels' poses, corresponding to the military exercises of the period, were the engravings from the 1607 Exercise in Arms by Jacob de Gheyn II.Calamarca church, about 60 km from La Paz, Bolivia, contains one of the most complete existing series of ángeles arcabuceros, including the Asiel Timor Dei by Master of Calamarca (around 1680), that are considered definitive examples of the type.At the beginning of the 18th century, the demand for paintings from all corners of the Viceroyalty grew rapidly. Hundreds of Cusqueño paintings, many of which depicted ángeles arcabuceros, were shipped to Lima, Upper Peru, Chile, and northern Argentina. To satisfy this demand, large artistic workshops, mostly indigenous, were established.
Today, paintings of ángeles arcabuceros are found in Peru, Bolivia, northern Argentina, and in various museums in Spain. There is also a collection of ten ángeles arcabuceros in the San Francisco de Padua Church in Uquía, located in Argentina's Quebrada de Humahuaca.