Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
Los Angeles, CA
Pinxit Mexici: Painted in Mexico, 1700–1790 is a groundbreaking exhibition devoted to 18th century Mexican painting, a vibrant period marked by major stylistic developments and the invention of new iconographies. The exhibition’s over 120 works (many unpublished and restored for the exhibition), will make a lasting contribution to our understanding of Mexican painting in particular and transatlantic artistic connections in the 18th century in general.
Its seven main themes—Great Masters, Master Story Tellers, Noble Pursuits and the Academy, Paintings of the Land, The Power of Portraiture, The Allegorical World, and Imagining the Sacred—explore the painters’ great inventiveness and the varying contexts in which their works were created. The exhibition represents the first and most serious effort to date to reposition the history of 18th century painting in Mexico; it will be accompanied by a fully-illustrated publication, complete with scholarly essays authored by the leading experts in the field. Co-organized with Fomento Cultural Banamex, Mexico City, the exhibition will subsequently travel to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website
Whether you go or not, the exhibition catalog, Painted in Mexico, 1700-1790: Pinxit Mexici, provides the first in-depth reassessment of 18th-century Mexican painting, making accessible an extraordinary body of images, alongside compelling new scholarship. This beautiful, ground-breaking volume represents the first serious effort to reposition the history of 18th-century Mexican painting, a highly vibrant period marked by major stylistic changes and the invention of new iconographies.
Illustrated with newly commissioned photography of never-before-published artworks, the book provides a broad view of the connections of Mexican painting with transatlantic artistic trends and emphasizes its own internal developments and remarkable pictorial output. During this time painters were increasingly asked to create mural-size paintings to cover the walls of sacristies, choirs, staircases, cloisters, and university halls among others. Significantly, the same artists also produced portraits, casta paintings (depictions of racial mixing), folding screens, and finely rendered devotional images, attesting to their extraordinary versatility. Authored by leading experts in the field, the book’s essays address the tradition and innovation of Mexican painting, the mobility of pictures within and outside the vice-royalty, the political role of images, and the emphasis on ornamentation. Rounding out this volume are over 130 catalogue entries that offer new and authoritative interpretations.