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Sixteen Art Lessons
with suggested extensions for Math, Science, Language Arts and Social Studies

The Art of Many Cultures Meet in Mexico

Many cultures contributed to the unique styles of colonial mexican art. The artistic traditions of the Aztecs and earlier indigenous cultures continued after the conquest. Spanish art istelf combines European styles with those of the Islamic culture of the Moors. Spanish trade routes brought art from China and the Philippines directly to Mexico, adding Asian influences to Vice-Regal Mexican art.

Folding Screen

Pear-Shaped Bottle

St. Michael the Archangel

Barqueno Writing Desk

Patron of the Arts: The Catholic Church

An Important Patron of the Arts in Vice-Regal Mexico during the 17th and 18th centuries, Mexican artists created a wide array of objects for use in the Roman Catholic Church. Paintings and sculptures of Mary, Christ, and saints; silver chalices and lecterns; embroidered textiles; objects made from ceramics and feathers all played a role in religious observance.

Virgin of Guadalupe

Missal Stand/Lectern

St. James on Horseback

The Adoration of the Shepherds

Art Objects are Part of Daily Life

Art created for use in homes in viceregal Mexico reveals the tastes and fashions of wealthy Mexicans. Furniture ranged from small portable writing desks and chests to large wardrobes. Portraits introduce women adorned in rich clothes and jewels. Artists created containers from tin-glazed earthenware and lacquereed wood. Wealthy Mexicans drank chocolate from coconut shells mounted in silver and aristocratic ladies kept cigarettes in special gold cases.

Portrait of an Indian Lady



Coconut-Shell Cup

A New Style Inspired by Ancient Greece and Rome

A major change in artistic styles arose in the late 1700s. In Mexico City, the Academia de las Nobles Artes founded in 1783 provided formal artistic training and set taste. A more restrained neoclassical taste inspired by the art of ancient Greece and Rome replacd the flamboyance of earlier Mexican art.


Flower Pots

Spice Container


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