As far as we know, while Native american people painted their buildings, they left us few actual paintings. The only important paintings we know of are Mayan tomb paintings. There are drawings in Mayan codicies. With the conquest the Spanish fathers taught talnted Native Americn European artistic techniques. Most of their work was rligious intended to decorate churchs. We know of very few notable Latin American artists. The best known artists are the Mexican muralists, very dramatic works, but highly idological. We are not sure why there are relatively few importnt Latin American artists. Surely economics is a factor. It is wealthy countries that produce great art. And Latin America has languashed in poverty during the Spanish colonial era as well after indepependence. The region is not fully developing its human talent. Latin America continues to be very poor in comprison to Europe and North America and now Asia. Aalthough since the rise of free market capitalism during recent years in some countries there has been considerable progress. Some countries (Cuba, Nicargua, nd Venezuel) have made the catetrophic decesion to develop a socilist economy, thus nsuring widespread povety. Hopefully our Latin American readers will be able to provide us some information or important artists in their country.
We know of only one Ecuadorian artist of note at this time. We note a painting of a youthful mulatto nobel in the service of the Spanish King (Philip III) is Don Domingo Arobé. He wears gold jewelry, but not in the European fashion and carries a Spanish pike. This is a detail from a larger portrait. We know the portrait was painted in Ecuador (1599). The artist was Adrián Sánchez Gálquez. By that time, Spanish control of Peru and Ecuador was firmly established.
We have found few Mexican artists of note, but of course incourage Mexican reader to forward us information on important national artists. We have found a painting by an unidentified artiist, we think from about the 1830s. The most stunning art from Mexico is of course the work of the great muralists like Rivera and Orocozo. Their work is highly ideological political focusing on the Spanish Conquest and the suppression of the Native American people which is both dramatic and accurate. The modern period is depicted in leftist terms picturing capitalists exploiting workers and idealizing Communism. While artistically striking, the murals are telling for what one does not see. Totaly absent from this work is the Soviet state's supression of peasants and the horrors of the Gulag. Also missing is any appreciation of how democracy and capitalism in America and Europe were generating the jobs and wealth which for the first time were allowing the average individual to achieve a prosperous life. It is no accident that millions of Mexicans aspiring for a better life have been forced to emigrate, usually illegally, to the United States. This revolutionary mindset is still prevalent in Latin America, a factor in explaining why so many countries in the region languish in corruption, and endemic poverty. We have used the work of some of these murals to illustrate history pages, such as Diego Rivera and Jose Clemnte Orozco.
We only know of one Peruvian artist at this time, the modern painter Fernando Sayan Polo (Peru, 1947- ). We also notice a charming drawing by Marin Pescador of a Andean boy.
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