Mexico Arts in 18th Century

By | January 12, 2022

XVIII century. – According to usprivateschoolsfinder, the Churrigueresque style triumphs in architecture, that is the last and most extreme form of the Spanish Baroque. The moderate Baroque, which in the altar of the kings in the cathedral of Puebla barely presents the twisted columns in the Italian style, gradually agitates the forms, accentuating the projections of the profiles and overloading doors and altars with foliage, until it reaches the most unbridled Churrigueresque style in the altar of the kings of the cathedral of Mexico, the work of the Spanish Gerolamo de Balbás.

Extremely rich wood and stone carvings, gilding, embroideries in the vestments of the statues, majolica of various colors on the domes, bell towers, portals, walls and floors, complete the characteristics of an art that in Mexico represented the greatest profusion of wealth. The works of this style are very numerous and very varied in Mexico; however, three main groups can be distinguished. In a first group, despite the profusion of ornaments, divisions and curves in the forms, the column retains its function as a decorative support, even when it is twisted in shape. In the second group the profusion of ornaments increases and the Churrigueresque pillar is preferred as a support which consists of a pillar proper to which a balustrade element is superimposed which supports the pseudocorinthian capital. In the third group the indigenous influence reappears which, in a strictly Mexican technique, freely interprets the forms of the two previous groups.

Examples of the most pronounced indigenous influence are the facades of the church of S. Monica in Guadalajara and the cathedral of Zacatecas, as well as the courtyard and the facade of the church of S. Agostino in Querétaro. The main works for clarity of the general lines and perfection of the elements of sculpture are the facade of the church of Tepotzotlán, the side facades (which currently serve as the entrance) of the church of San Francesco and the Metropolitan Shrine of Mexico. Models for originality of line and richness of notable details are the facades of the churches of Santissima, Santa Veracruz and S. Giovanni di Dio in Mexico; those of S. Diego and of the Company in Guanajuato, of Ocotlán in Tlaxcala. Finally, the greatest wealth that degenerates into real confusion is found in the votive churches of the mines of Valenciana and Taxco,

The dome is profuse in Mexican buildings with such abundance that it constitutes the characteristic of the landscape, but only in the helmet and hemispherical forms, both with a single roof.

The Churrigueresque style, although in Mexico it ends up entirely lacking in measure, retains great perfection of profiles and presents large parties or lines of composition in the altar of Christ in the church of S. Rosa in Querétaro or in the altar of the chapel in the church of Carmine. in San Luis Potosí. He also finds plants that perfectly solve architectural problems, such as in the parish churches of Taxco and the Metropolitan Shrine, in the Colegio de la Enseñanza in Mexico and in the Pocito chapel in Guadalupe, near the capital. This last chapel summarizes the main qualities of the Mexican style of the century. XVIII: it presents a lively sense of measure in the decoration, a beautiful richness of forms, a vivacity of color and a magnificent plant which subordinates the general composition to the typical Mexican dome.

In painting, the transition between the century XVII and XVIII is represented in Mexico by the painters Juan Correa, Cristóbal de Villalpando, Juan and Nicolás Rodríguez Juárez, the latter two grandsons of the painter José Juárez. Correa and Villalpando in their large paintings that cover the walls in the sacristy of the cathedral of Mexico show vigor of groupings, a sense of decoration, a love of the landscape. They painted from 1675 to 1714. Nicolás and Juan Rodríguez Juárez begin to reveal the influence of Murillo (their works in the cathedral of Mexico).

José Ibarra (1688-1756), disciple of Juan Correa, and Miguel Cabrera (1695-1768) summarize all the characteristics of Mexican painting of the eighteenth century: the artistic decadence of the time is evident in their mellow and mannered works, multiplied to the infinite, sometimes slavishly copying prints or reproductions of European artists. They close the century. XVIII Morlete Ruiz, Vallejo and Alcíbar, who followed the school of Cabrera.

In the city of Puebla, which in importance comes after that of Mexico, there was a pictorial school which had no different phases, but was inferior in quality and number.

Finally, it should be noted that all the works of the painters of the century. XVIII, removed from the altars and from the walls for which they were painted, they appear ordinary, without design, out of tune in the color, but inside the magnificently carved and gilded Churrigueresque altars, they form a harmonious whole with them.

The sculpture of the century. XVIII is reduced to religious iconography and to the profusion of friezes that entirely cover doors and altars of stone and wood. It lacks individuality, but corresponds very well to its ornamental purpose. As exceptional examples of technical refinement, we can cite the sculptures on the facade of the church of Tepotzotlán, east of Mexico, and, in the city of Oaxaca, those on the facades of the cathedral and the church of St. Philip.

If during the whole period of the Spanish domination in Mexico, the minor arts and the artistic industries formed an important following to the other arts, in the century. XVIII they reached a particularly notable development, given the wealth and prosperity of that period. The furniture, the fabrics and the embroideries, the engraving and above all the orficeria, called as in Spain platería (silverware), produced innumerable works of value to which the indigenous or mestizo workers gave their particular characters.

XIX century. – During the century XIX the fine arts have as their center in Mexico the Academia de Nobles Artes of St. Charles of New Spain, founded by King Charles III in the capital of the viceroyalty in 1781. The same king had previously founded (1778) the engraving school at the mint and the painter Miguel Cabrera had attempted to establish the Academy of Painting in 1753.

Already towards the end of the 18th century, a reaction against the Baroque was felt in which the most important part was the architect and sculptor of Valenza Manuel Tolsá, founder of the school of sculpture in the mentioned academy, and the Creole artist Francisco Eduardo Tresguerras, engraver, painter, sculptor and above all architect, born in Celaya, in the center of Mexico. Tolsá, completing the towers, the dome, the balustrades and the rose windows of the cathedral of Mexico, gave proportion and unity to the external parts of that grandiose building, and with the palace of Minería, severe and grandiose, in which there is no lack of some baroque styles of good taste, he revealed that strong personality that places him in first place among the Spanish architects who influenced the development of Mexican architecture. FE Tresguerras, born in the province, he had only the few prints and the few books that could reach his small town. With these means of preparation alone he built the church of the Carmel of Celaya, a work of rare unity and exquisite taste, in which all the details of sculpture and painting also belong to him. This classical renaissance, not immune from Baroque reminiscences, marks the end of the Hispano-Mexican era, which was especially glorious for the architecture of Mexico.

The painting of Miguel Jimeno, also a teacher at the Academy, on which Goya perhaps influenced, did not have a wide resonance in his disciples and did nothing but develop a cold academicism.

The sculpture reaches a great development and full mastery of technical means due to the impulse given to it by Mexico Tolsá who, in the equestrian statue of Charles IV, in the statues and groups that decorate the facade of the cathedral of Mexico, and in the Cypress of that of Puebla, he was able to give indisputable proofs of his genius. His disciples formed groups or small local schools, which stood out, such as that of the Perrusquías y Arcés of Querétaro.

Mexico Arts