Monday, January 25, 2010

Museo de Arte Colonial- Colonial Art Museum

This museum is simply amazing. It is located in La Casa de las Aulas, which a guard told us used to be a convent. It has a beautiful courtyard garden and the best part about it is that it doesn't sugarcoat history while at the same time showcasing the beautiful art pieces that came out of one of the most violent parts of colonial history.

The colonial art produced in Spanish New Granada (it was originally a viceroyalty of Peru but as it grew in power and commerce it became its own viceroyalty) is beautiful. The museum showcases not only the types of objects one might have found in the churches and wealthy homes of the era, but also the religious relics that were used to wield religion as a tool of colonization. The pieces are formed from the silver and other precious metals that were found in South America. The paintings of the various local saints and apparitions of the Virgin show how religion adapted to local customs to gain entrance. The saints, the Virgin, and even the angels all look different and reflect the people they were supposed to inspire by example.

Also on exhibit are a "Painter's Viewpoint" featuring the works of Gregorio Vásquez de Arce y Ceballos, Gaspar y Baltazar de Figueroa and Antonio Acero among others. My favorite was one that gives "Trinity" a whole new meaning:

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