HESCAH Keynote

Thursday, October 10, 2019 - 18:00 to 19:00

Keynote Lecture: The Human Element: Painters and the Profession in Early Colonial Quito
Location: Smathers Library, Room 100*

Susan V. Webster, Jane W. Mahoney Professor of Art and Art History, College of William & Mary
What’s in a name? The historiography of colonial Latin American art is rife with lamentations over the widespread anonymity of early colonial painters. Yet, should naming matter? Can it help us better understand colonial painters, their profession, and, by extension, the images they produced? This talk focuses on painters in early colonial Quito in order to examine issues related to the politics of naming, artistic agency, professional practices, and the European “life-work” model of art historical inquiry. Far from establishing a “canon” along European lines or tempting us to parse hybridity in the images themselves, the archival recovery of named painters and aspects of their lives offers fragmentary but compelling insights into the human element that remains largely invisible in early colonial paintings.

*Please note that this keynote lecture is NOT held at the Harn Museum.

This keynote lecture is held in conjunction with the Harn Eminent Scholar Chair in Art History Symposium, "Beyond Biography: Artistic Practice and Personhood in Colonial Latin America" at the Harn Museum of Art on Friday, October 11.