Front cover image for Portraiture in New Spain, 1600-1800: Painters, Patrons and Politics in Viceregal Mexico

Portraiture in New Spain, 1600-1800: Painters, Patrons and Politics in Viceregal Mexico

This dissertation charts some of the most significant events for the development of portrait-painting in New Spain in order to shed light on a problematic genre that is often overlooked or misunderstood, even by scholars in the field. The first chapter examines the corporate portrait in early seventeenth-century Mexico City, specifically the series of canvases depicting archbishops in the cathedral chapter hall, and the role of the painter as an arbiter of taste. The second chapter investigates the persistence of this established model, which was a narrowly constructed and exclusively male tradition, which lasted a century and a half. The third chapter discusses the extraordinary innovations of the early eighteenth century. As a result of many factors, including profound economic and social changes, there began an explosion of portrait commissions after 1700, especially in the previously ignored spheres of women and family. The final chapter deals with the foundation of the Academy in Mexico and its role in the Bourbon effort to retain control over its dominion by re-imposing artistic taste in the colony. One of the strategies employed to this end was the importation of a generation of Spanish artists trained at the Academy in Madrid
Thesis, Dissertation, English, 2011
New York University