Eighteenth century caste paintings: The implications of Miguel Cabrera's series
AdvisorWiddifield, Stacie Graham
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis study examines caste paintings, an art form unique to eighteenth century colonial Mexico. Hundreds of caste paintings were produced, following a compositional template that remained fairly uniform throughout the century. The distinguishing characteristic of these images is their depiction and labeling of Mexico's racially mixed population. A broad discussion of the caste genre places these works in the context of hierarchical colonial society. Focus is on select images by prominent Mexican artist Miguel Cabrera, and the changes Cabrera brings to the caste template. This study places particular emphasis on the women of Cabrera's first two caste paintings, using examples from portraiture and other art forms for contrast. The noble cacique Indian woman of the first image is used as a way to highlight and explore representation of the European and Indian cultures that comprised the major dichotomy of New Spain's social organization.
Degree ProgramGraduate College