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The Legend of Santa Sophronia

Cuzco School

European Art

The enormous number of paintings acquired by private collectors in colonial Spanish America is borne out by evidence in testamentary, dowry, and other documents of the period. From urban centers to frontier areas, paintings by European and New World artists depicting religious and secular subjects decorated the homes of Creole, peninsular Spanish, mestizo (people of mixed race), and indigenous men and women.

The five Andean paintings on this wall were produced for a growing art market by anonymous artists in the workshops of Cuzco. Paintings of religious subjects were prevalent in Spanish America but uncommon in colonial British America; one exception was the New York scripture paintings made for Upper Hudson and Mohawk Valley Dutch families (see illustration).

Elite Spanish American homes also displayed Spanish and Flemish paintings, which annually traveled to the New World by way of Spanish ships and were marketed by merchants throughout Spanish America.

El enorme número de pinturas adquiridas por los coleccionistas privados en la Hispanoamérica colonial es evidente en testamentos, dotes y otros documentos de la época. Tanto en los centros urbanos como en las áreas fronterizas, pinturas de artistas europeos y del Nuevo Mundo que representaban temas religiosos y seculares decoraban las casas de criollos, españoles peninsulares, mestizos y también de hombres y mujeres indígenas.

Las cinco pinturas andinas sobre esta pared fueron pintadas por artistas anónimos en talleres de Cuzco para el creciente mercado artístico local. Aunque en Hispanoamérica predominaban las pinturas religiosas, este género era muy poco común en la América colonial británica; una excepción fueron las pinturas de las Sagradas Escrituras hechas en Nueva York para las familias holandesas de los Valles del Hudson Superior y del Mohawk (ver ilustración).

Las casas de la élite hispanoamericana también exhibían pinturas españolas y flamencas, que cada año viajaban al Nuevo Mundo en barcos españoles para ser ofrecidas por comerciantes en toda Hispanoamérica.

ARTIST Cuzco School
MEDIUM Oil on canvas
  • Place Made: Cuzco, Peru
  • DATES late 17th century
    PERIOD Colonial Period
    DIMENSIONS 21 x 87in. (53.3 x 221cm) frame: 23 7/16 x 89 5/8 x 2 3/8 in. (59.5 x 227.6 x 6 cm)  (show scale)
    INSCRIPTIONS Inscribed on tree at right: "SOPHRO/NIA"
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    ACCESSION NUMBER 48.206.88
    CREDIT LINE Frank L. Babbott Fund, Frank Sherman Benson Fund, Carll H. de Silver Fund, A. Augustus Healy Fund, Caroline A.L. Pratt Fund, Charles Stewart Smith Memorial Fund, and Ella C. Woodward Memorial Fund
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Cuzco School. The Legend of Santa Sophronia, late 17th century. Oil on canvas, 21 x 87in. (53.3 x 221cm). Brooklyn Museum, Frank L. Babbott Fund, Frank Sherman Benson Fund, Carll H. de Silver Fund, A. Augustus Healy Fund, Caroline A.L. Pratt Fund, Charles Stewart Smith Memorial Fund, and Ella C. Woodward Memorial Fund, 48.206.88 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 48.206.88_PS6.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 48.206.88_PS6.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2012
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