In recent years, cultural exchange has become a priority line of research to understand the specific qualities and contacts between cultures. This positive fusion is fundamental to understanding South America’s artistic contributions but also the importance that Andalusia has in the development of South America’s historical definition.
Some hypotheses are:
- The influence of Andalusian artists on South America’s aesthetic during the Hispanic era.
- The migration of artists at different stages and traditional techniques (such as tiles or plasterwork) during the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries.
- Devotional impact caused in American religiosity by the introduction of Andalusian iconography.
- The role of Andalusian patrons.
- South American works that were integrated into the Andalusian heritage.
With these initial premises, our lines of research are:
We consider the most interesting line of research that which focuses on the group of artists who emigrated to the New World and replicated on the other side of the Atlantic the productive conditions that were present in the Iberian Peninsula. The guild system with its corresponding ordinances and municipal control is imposed in American cities. There, studios and their methods of operation essentially repeat those from the other side of the ocean. Seville will be the productive template, and the artists coming out of Andalusia in the last quarter of the 16th century will become the pioneers of working studios, and will carry on throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. In the New World, the teachings will be passed on from fathers to sons, and will form true genealogical trees of artists who, rooted in the prevailing Andalusian mannerism of those times, will move towards baroque composition throughout the Modern Era. We can highlight, as an example, the cases of artists who emigrated and founded their studios early on in this period, such as the sculptor Gaspar de la Cueva (Seville ca. 1587 – Lima), and the painters Bernardo Pérez Chacón (Seville – Lima 1653) and Pedro de Vargas (Montilla, Córdoba 1553 – Quito 1597).
The analysis of the Andalusian presence in South America includes another very important phase, during the 19th and especially the 20th century with the Spanish Civil War leading to the exile of many artists and intellectuals seeking the creative space and the freedom denied them in their motherland. Argentina and Chile are the principal host-countries in which such immigrants as José Machado or Manuel Ángeles Ortiz will continue with their creative activities.
The subject of popular piety includes a series of aspects that are fundamental in understanding the wide range of cultural transfers performed between Andalusia and America during the viceregal period. From the earliest stages of the conquest and territorial expansion in the New World, the soldiers made very clear their predilection for cherished images and icons to which they would dedicate their heroic exploits. They did this by the founding of new towns and villages in honor of a particular religious image, as became the case with Our Lady of Antigua or Our Lady of the Buen Aire. Later on, thanks to the evangelical work as well as to the consolidation of the viceregal administration, the circulation of devotional images relating to Andalusia became fundamental for those people who, under the auspices of their local patron saints, embarked on the Carrera de Indias (i.e., the trading voyages linking Spain with the New World). Once they arrived at their destination, the traders set up religious brotherhoods, shrines, and chapels, where they could pray and worship, and thus establish the cult amongst the native population. Similarly, the religious orders played a fundamental role, often because an Andalusian member would stand out in his American ministry, like Saint Francis Solanus; or because, having been born in Andalusia, they distributed the image of their founding father, as in the case of Saint John of God; or because a particular Marian effigy was chosen as the bastion for the natives’ catechizing, as was the case in the South American jungle for the Capuchin friars with the Holy Shepherdess of Seville. This spiritual phenomenon did not cease with the pro-independence revolutions, but rather, towards the end of the 19th century and as a result of the arrival of the first waves of Andalusian emigrants, fresh religious dedications linked to popular fervor, such as Our Lady of the Hope of Macarena or Our Lady of the Dew, were eagerly introduced.
Works of art
The export of works of art from the port of Seville was a constant from the outset of the Hispanic presence in America. Currently, we have some masterpieces of Andalusian art conserved in institutions, particularly in the religious ones which commissioned them, and in several American museums. Some of these works were imported during the viceregal period and others have been purchased for collections in recent centuries. Nevertheless, they are indicative of the artistic interests in American society, and represent a tip of the iceberg of a poorly documented valuable trade and of the historical loss of works of art.
The presence of these types of works of art in America must have been frequent, as their influence is manifest in studying every one of the artists working in the viceregal period.
The consolidation of the Andalusian presence in South America could not have been achieved without the activity of patrons and principal contracting parties, whose donations and tangible funding made possible the artistic development of South America. It is the role of these benefactors that we introduce as novel material in this new project.