Escuela Cusqueña

Cuzco School


Denomination that receive the artists of Cuzco, in the style that was inspired in the pieces made by Bernardo Bitti (1548-1610) pupil of Miguel Angel, Mateo de Alessio (1547 - 1631) and Angélico Medoro (1565-1632?), and it was created by Gregorio Gamarra in 1680.


They had in common compositions of traditional religious figures, of exquisite decoration, with abundance of flowers and gold.


They used the technique of the "stew" that consists in gilding on cloth or wood, and then scraped to discover the original gilding.


The Escuela Cusqueña (Cuzco School) was an artistic tradition that centered on Cuzco in the 17th and 18th centuries, after the 1534 Spanish conquest of the city. The Cuzco School is considered the first organized artistic center in the New World.


The Cusqueña paintings were a form of religious art whose main purpose was didactic. The Spanish, who aimed to convert the Incans to Catholicism, sent a group of religious artists to Cuzco. These artists formed a school for Amerindians and mestizos, teaching them drawing and oil painting. (The designation "Cusqueña," however, is not limited to the city of Cuzco. These artistic traditions spread to other cities in the Andes, as well as to Bolivia and Ecuador. The Cusqueña style is generally thought to have originated in the art of Inca painter Diego Quispe Tito.


Cusqueña paintings are characterized by their use of exclusively religious subjects, their lack of perspective, and the predominance of red, yellow and earth colors. They also used a lot of gold, especially with images of the Virgin Mary. Though the Cusqueño painters studied Byzantine, Flemish, Andorran and Italian Renaissance art, their works were freer than those of their European tutors: they used bright colors and distorted, dramatic images, and depicted their native flora and fauna as a backdrop in their works.


Most Cusqueña paintings were created anonymously because of pre-Columbian traditions that define art as communitarian.


The largest collection of paintings from the Cuzco school is in the Cathedral of Santo Domingo (Cuzco).



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