This is a beautiful painted number found in Cuzco many years ago. What is interesting about this, and what is considered desirable in Spanish Colonial furniture of this variety is that it is "Folk Baroque".
Spanish Colonial decorative art and furniture, both ecclesiastic and civil, were considered to be empty or inferior representations of the European styles they were copying. The art historian, Pal Keleman, in the 1940's, took survey of the breadth of the then existing Colonial places and pieces that were found throughout Central and South America and really gave definition and appreciation to these hybrid styles.
If you look at this chair, you can see that it is one of these hybrids. It is an indigenous interpretation of what a European chair looks like, probably copied from an illustration or a painting where a European chair was represented. The legs and arms are very European in style and execution. The "popular" or folk motif is evident in the shell on the back, it looks more like an indigenous "penacho". The back is left crude like most folk furniture, and the bright turquoise paint is certainly made for a definite "mestizo" taste. These tendencies are evident even up to the 20th century. The isolation of artisans from the fashions of their times, lent them to really create pieces that were out of period. Other hybrid styles, even Mexican Modernism, are still being investigated and exposed today.
The purpose of this blog is to expose and introduce the decorative arts primarily from Latin America, beauty and power found in nature, and just about anything else we will find interesting at the moment.
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