History of painting in Peru

History of painting in Peru

The history of painting in Peru dates back to pre-Hispanic times, where simple tools and dyes of natural origin were used. At that time, painting was limited to the decoration of ornamental and utilitarian objects made of ceramics. With the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, painting became mainly an expression of Catholic religiosity.

During the Republican era, Peruvian painting went through four major periods or styles: costumbrismo, academic painting, indigenismo and contemporary or modernist painting.

Prehispanic era
Peruvian painting has its most remote origin in cave art, highlighting Toquepala and Lauricocha, whose antiquity was dated to about 10,000 years.

In the Andean civilizations, the pre-Hispanic settler captured his art mainly in ceramics, distinguishing the Nazca, Mochica, Chimú, Tiahuanaco and Wari cultures. However, the Inca Empire limited itself to copying the Tiahuanaco queros. In the Moche culture, artists created high reliefs on the murals of the temples, such as the frieze located in the Huacas del Sol and de la Luna, 5 km from the city of Trujillo.

Painting during the Viceroyalty
The first expressions (1533-1620)
Painting, as an artistic representation on canvas or fresco, began during the viceregal era. Already in 1533, while the Spanish conquistador Diego de Mora was portraying the Inca Atahualpa imprisoned in Cajamarca, canvases, panels and images with representations of the new religion began to circulate throughout the vast Andean territory.

Colonial painting had three great influences: the Italian one, very intense during the 16th and early 17th centuries, which later diluted to regain its hegemony at the end of the 18th century with the introduction of neoclassicism; the flamenco influence, which existed from the beginning and its importance grew until it was very strong in the 17th century, but, above all, it was constant through engravings; and the Spanish one that manifested itself more strongly during the Baroque period of the 17th and 18th centuries, especially through the Sevillian School. Later, and after indigenous and mestizos, the American Baroque began, with the introduction and recovery of new factors in the artistic panorama. The incorporation of the indigenous did not only result in a style, but also represented a different concept of the universe and its expression, with genuine validity, manifesting itself in a different and own art.

Indigenous artists interpreted the religious themes and styles of Western art works given by Catholic priests. Colonial paintings show themes of saints and religious figures combined with indigenous elements, such as Andean dresses or Andean facial expressions.