SIRACUSANO Gabriela Silvana
congresos y reuniones científicas
In Need of Flames: The Appropriation of a Last Judgment Motif from Rome to the Globalized Christian World
Nueva York
Simposio; Beyond Italy and New Spain. Itineraries for an Iberian Art History (1440-1640; 2012
Institución organizadora:
University of Columbia
Within the intense flow of goods in circulation around the globe in the 16th and 17th centuries, images have played an essential role. Their migration tells us of the spread of various interests and necessities around the world and about the links among the persons that created, commercialized, used or led them through distant points of the globe. Although there is substantial documentation about the trade of images, there are few written sources that mention the subjects of paintings or stamps, or refer to them as identifiable sets. In the lack of that documentation, the circulation of images can be verified by the identification of iconographic sets that contributed to the creation of new images throughout the world. If a motif was created in Antwerp, then re-engraved in Paris and afterwards used in Spain to create a new painting, that functions as a starting point to establish the geographical scope of a motif and of each particular image. In the case of artistic activities distant from the metropolis –as in Peru and Bolivia- this mechanism has been usually identified by many art historians with the lack of originality in those productions and, therefore, it has contributed to the schema of “original and copy” in which creativity is left to some iconographic changes or the inclusion of certain local and native motifs. Fortunately, new visions regarding the colonial culture as generative and not derivative, or the existence of new ways of expression where invention and imagination are understood as coordinates of different cultural mental sets -as Tom Cummins has proposed-, have opened new paths and horizons for this dilemma. Nevertheless, in the case of thinking about terms as models and motifs within the Viceroyalty of Peru, we do not want to confine this discussion to a regional one. Moreover, we would like to center the problem in a global and historical dimension by which those terms could be redefined in order to promote a more connected art history. Among the iconographic universe that invaded the South American territory after the conquest –as Gruzinski has proposed-,the image of the Final Judgment seems to be good for our purposes. Previous work has shown how this iconography, linked to that of the Four Last Things (Death, Last Judgment, Hell and Glory) or Novissimi, was settled in specific locations within de Viceroyalty of Peru. Along with important centers of artistic production as Cuzco or Potosi, other smaller Indian towns –whose existence was related to control strategies within the process of evangelization and extirpation of idolatry– were chosen to exhibit this visual machinery from which the struggle between good and evil, between true and false, and a message rooted in the relationship “sin-punishment”, was expressed as an effective iconographic strategy in huge paintings which had a privileged observer: the native people. Scenes of extreme violence, tortures and terror were combined with the representation of indigenous practices understood as idolatric from the conqueror point of view by which, together with sermons, contributed to the main goal: the control of bodies and minds. In fact, those practices kept in themselves the persistence of religious activity that, for centuries, refused to disappear in the private or domestic cults. “The bad, the demonic and false, present in the antediluvian and apocalyptic images, offered a visual reading that enabled their identification with the presence of Indians, their cultic objects and ritual practices.”