Reading and Writing about Visual Experience: Indigenous and Colonial Mural Painting in Latin America
Tuesday, Thursday: 11:00-12:30pm
Mural paintings represent the human impulse to visually register social, economic, political, and historical circumstances over the walls of different architectural structures, at various periods of time. Although mural paintings are omnipresent in the lives of people today, it is only recently that scholars have taken an interest in studying these artistic manifestations in connection to the legacy of ancient indigenous cultures in America. This course will examine mural paintings made by various indigenous cultures in distinct geographical areas. We will begin with an overview of major pre-Columbian mural projects found in an area that spans from Mesoamerica to the South American Andes. We will then explore the transformation of mural painting during the colonial period, taking a close look at the juxtaposition of western and indigenous visual interventions, and considering the proliferation of mural painting in churches, convents, and private homes. At the end of the course, we will look at how the imagery, narratives, materiality, and spatial location of contemporary mural painting reference the histories of mural painting in the region and the legacy of indigenous pasts.
In this R1B course, you will develop writing and analytical skills to establish relationships between visual and textual academic sources through writing exercises, close readings, and group discussions, which will allow you to write a final 10-12 page research paper. This paper will showcase your understanding of the interactions among religious orders, artists, parishioners, and local indigenous populations, and how their exchanges manifested in the techniques and images found in mural paintings.