Date of Degree

10-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Art History

Advisor(s)

James M. Saslow

Subject Categories

History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology

Keywords

Angelino Medoro, Bernardo Bitti, Colonial Latin American Art, Mateo Perez de Alesio, Peruvian Painting

Abstract

The full extent of the long-lasting presence of the Italian Renaissance in colonial Lima has never been explored. This dissertation asserts that the Italian impact on painting in colonial Lima was connected to the authority of Rome, the center of the Catholic Church, and the artistic prestige of Italy in the culture of the sixteenth century. The Italian influence will be made evident through a survey of the careers of three Italian painters, Bernardo Bitti (1548-1610), Mateo Pérez de Alesio (1547-1616), and Angelino Medoro (1567-1631), who traveled to Lima in the end of the sixteenth century and went on to become the city's most successful and influential artists. Connections between the New World and Italy are to be expected owing to the reliance on Italian models in Spain itself throughout the sixteenth century. However, profound Italian influence is unique to the viceroyalty of Peru, and, it is particularly concentrated in Lima in comparison to Latin America as a whole.

Through detailed examinations of the extant paintings of Bitti, Alesio, and Medoro, as well as documents of their destroyed work, a more comprehensive and nuanced understanding of their styles and their contributions is offered here. Their impact is further evident in the work of students and followers. A number of South American artists of the following generation continued to draw on Italianate forms: for example, Gregorio Gamarra trained with Bitti and perpetuated that artist's distinctive elegant Mannerism. Italian influences were continued, with artists such Francisco Bejarano, an apprentice to Alesio, and Luis de Riano, who worked with Medoro. Numerous scholars have noted the prominence of Italianate forms and styles in South America, but they generally mention it as an aside or examine only isolated aspects of that influence. This scholarship includes the beginning of a map and timeline of Italian painters working in Peru, but it is by no means comprehensive and lacks any in-depth analysis of works of art. This dissertation is an in-depth consideration of the oeuvres of these Italian transplants as well as an assessment of the meaning and consequences of their presence in colonial Peru.

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