Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Caste Paintings

From It's About Time:
There was an exhibit in New York City, "New World Orders: Casta Painting & Colonial Latin America" at the Americas Society in 1996. Shown there were intimate, family portrayals of the racial mixing of the melting pot of the Americas forged from New World colonialism & Spanish Catholicism. Generally Latin America is defined as the region of the Americas where Romance languages (i.e., those derived from Latin) – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, & variably French – are primarily spoken....And then, a couple of years ago, I read the curator of that exhibit Ilona Katzew's book called Casta Painting: Images of Race in 18th-Century Mexico. It was published by the Yale University Press, in New Haven in 2004, and focused on the paintings of Miguel Cabrera c 1695-1768....Katzew used this primary source to help explain the need for the caste system in Mexico. In 1770 Francisco Antonio Lorenzana, a Spanish prelate and archbishop of Mexico from 1766 to 1772, remarked on the diversity of Mexico's population as opposed to Spain's: "Two worlds God has placed in the hands of our Catholic Monarch, and the New does not resemble the Old, not in its climate, its customs, nor its inhabitants; it has another legislative body, another council for governing, yet always with the end of making them alike: In the Old Spain only a single caste of men is recognized, in the New many and different." (Read more.)

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