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Claudia Mattos Avolese on ‘Historiography and the retracing of Latin American art history’: a review

30 November 2017

‘Historiography and the retracing of Latin American art history’

A review of:

The Academy of San Carlos and Mexican Art History by Ray Hernández-Durán, Politics, History, and Art in Nineteenth-Century Mexico, London and New York: Routledge, 2017, 174pp, 16 b. & w. illus., £110 hbk ISBN 978-1-4094-3412-2

Claudia Mattos Avolese (University of Campinas)  17/CMA

Abstract: The Academy of San Carlos and Mexican Art History presents an account of the cultural and political circumstances that led to the installation of the first gallery of colonial art at the Academy of San Carlos in mid-nineteenth century Mexico City, and to the associated publication of the first art historical account of colonial Mexico. The author proposes that these two endeavors relate closely to the ambitions of the Mexican conservative elite to create a Mexican corporate identity based on the colonial past. Ray Hernández-Durán also argues that the gallery and the associated book can be seen as the starting point for the construction of the field of Latin American art history as we know it today.

Key words: Latin America, Mexico, colonial art, historiography

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