This book came into being as a result of a Research and Development project funded by the Ministry of Economy and Competition [HAR2009-12585] and as the continuation of an earlier project [HUM2006-112947ARTE], which also culminated in a major publication that appeared in 2010. In the earlier book, we analysed the origins of naturalism in Andalusian and Latin American sculpture, while in the present work we examine the ways in which the Baroque style came to maturity in the same geographical areas.
For the arts in general, this period in Spain is regarded as a true Golden Age. However, for sculpture in particular, this extraordinary era enabled this art form to attain a unique status, to the extent that the sculpture of the day has come to be one of the emblematic features of Hispanic art.
The book is divided into two great thematic areas: on the one hand, Andalusia, and on the other, Latin America. In the former, Granada and Seville are outstanding for the scope of what they produced. In Granada, the great master Alonso de Mena created one of the most active artistic workshops in the entire history of the city. Seville, which was a larger city at the time and had considerable contact with the Canary Islands and the Indies, had a larger number of sculptors and master sculptors, but almost all were related in some way to the great figure of Juan Martínez Montañés. The two chapters on these cities are complemented by another chapter focusing on the graphic sources which these artists used in their work.
In the case of Latin America, sculpture took on special connotations because it was not only still being imported from Spain, but it was also being produced in the most important colonial cities. The stylistic features appear to share many of the concerns that were current among contemporaries in Spain. Even if we take the specific characteristics of the Americas into account, these works are shaped by their European cultural heritage. This is amply illustrated by the chapters on sculpture in Mexico City, the Captaincy General of Guatemala, the Royal Audiencia of Quito, or the Viceroyalties of New Granada and Peru. This book analyses what was happening in the most important artistic centres of Andalusia and Latin America, relating these aspects to one another to bring out the commonality and cross-influences. This book thus offers a panoramic vision that has never been attempted to date, which makes it not only a unique volume but also a pioneering work of scholarship.
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