Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, cattle ranching and cash crop cultivation transformed Latin American elites into some of the wealthiest people in the world. Such affluence invigorated the production and consumption of art made with American gold and silver as well as woods with colors and grains of unparalleled richness. The most opulent pieces were procured by churches, local nobility, and the wealthiest individuals. Meanwhile, slightly less refined works were available to a mass market with more modest assets. Spanish colonial art rivaled the beauty and sublimity of objects treasured by European connoisseurs. This exhibition features dozens of paintings, sculptures, silver pieces, furnishings, and decorative devotional objects accentuating the talents of local artisans and the tastes of art patrons across the Atlantic World. The exhibition provides an opportunity to appreciate priceless artifacts while learning about the exchange of ideas and aesthetics between the Old and the New Worlds.
Image detail: Saint Michael the Archangel, 18th century, Mexico, oil on canvas. Courtesy of the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros.