Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Heaven, Hell, and Everything in between. Murals of the Colonial Andes

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Heaven, Hell, and Everything in between. Murals of the Colonial Andes

Article excerpt

Heaven, Hell, and Everything in Between. Murals of the Colonial Andes. By Ananda Cohen Suarez. [Recovering Languages and Literacies in the Americas.] (Austin: University of Texas Press. 2016. Pp. xiv, 274. $29.95 paperback. ISBN 978-1-4773-0955-1.)

Approximately twenty years ago the latest books regarding the Hispanic colonial mural painting in the Andean context were published: two in Peru in 1993 and a third one in Bolivia in 1998. These books treated the subject matter in general terms, and their contributions were the first writings and considerations on Andean colonial mural painting. In the last two ensuing decades, scholars have written some interesting articles to understand better this important artistic heritage, thus bringing new perspectives as well as unveiling unknown groups of mural paintings. However, no one had undertaken the task of synthesizing the scholarship's progress on the topic and make it available to a wider audience. Ananda Cohen Suarez's book has come to fill this lacuna. In addition, it is the first book in English on the subject, which will allow a wider readership and ampler knowledge about this peculiar world of forms and colors produced between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries in the Andes.

Cohen Saurez's book is not only the first English book on mural paintings from the colonial period in the Andean area; it is also the only one on the subject published in any language in the last twenty years. Besides, the book presents new ways of approaching the study of this unique artistic production. Her analysis focuses on murals conserved in the southern regions of Cuzco, where some of the most striking examples are found, as the author emphasizes. The images painted on the walls of the churches of Andahuaylilas, Huaro, Urcos, Pitumarca, Ocongate, or Canincunca are analyzed in all their complexity, allowing the reader to understand the diversity of factors that came together in their realization. …

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