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December 04, 2007

Latin American art

Latin American Art has its origins in the many different indigenous cultures that inhabited the continent before the Spanish invasion in the XVIth Century. Each culture developed sophisticated artistic criteria, which in most cases was strongly linked with religious conceptions. As such, most works of art such as Mayan pyramids, Zapotec Jewelry or Inca architecture, just to mention a few, are always an expression of the culture and the religion.

During the Colonial Period, the mixture of Indigenous traditions and European influences (mainly due to the Christian teachings of Franciscan, Augustinian and Dominican Friars) produced a very particular Christian art known as Arte Indocristiano. Beyond the tradition of indigenous art, the development of Latin American visual art owed much to the influence of Spanish, Portuguese and French Baroque painting, which in turn often followed the trends of the Italian Masters. In general, this artistic Eurocentrism began to fade in the early twentieth century, as Latin-Americans began to acknowledge the uniqueness of their condition and started to follow their own path.

From the early twentieth century, the art of Latin America was greatly inspired by the Constructivist Movement. The Constructivist Movement was founded in Russia around 1913 by Vladimir Tatlin. The Movement quickly spread from Russia to Europe and then into Latin America. Joaquin Torres Garcia and Manuel Rendón have been credited with bringing the Constructivist Movement into Latin America from Europe.

An important artistic movement generated in Latin America is Muralismo represented by Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, José Clemente Orozco and Rufino Tamayo in Mexico along with Pedro Nel Gómez and Santiago Martinez Delgado in Colombia. Some of the most impressive Muralista works can be found in Mexico, Colombia, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia.

Mexican painter Frida Kahlo may be the best known Latin American artist. She painted about her own life and the Mexican culture in a style combining Realism, Symbolism and Surrealism. Kahlo's work commands the highest selling price of all Latin American paintings

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