Some art images have become visual shorthand for a country’s culture and values, expressing, as the saying goes, a thousand words. These icons evoke shared feelings and ideas, which are the basis of a nation’s identity. The powerful images shown here may depict a person; an object; or a place, such as the volcanoes near Mexico City. Comparing images that stir national pride, we readily see that pictures from each North American country are different, but their power and spirit are similar.
Some art images have become visual shorthand for a country’s culture and values, expressing, as the saying goes, a thousand words. These icons evoke shared feelings and ideas, which are the basis of a nation’s identity. The powerful images shown here may depict a person; an object; or a place, such as the volcanoes near Mexico City. Comparing images that stir national pride, we readily see that pictures from each North American country are different, but their power and spirit are similar.

© CHIN 2001. All Rights Reserved

Hacienda de Chimalpa

Hacienda de Chimalpa (Hacienda of Chimalpa)

José María Velasco (1840 - 1912)
Museo Nacional de Arte. INBA. CONACULTA
1893
MEXICO
oil on canvas
© Museo Nacional de Arte. INBA. CONACULTA


The artist did the painting on commission from the owner of the Hacienda of Chimalpa, Mr. José Solórzano, and there are two known versions prepared from on-site sketches. Velasco chose the highest vantage point, viewing the hacienda from the west to include the majestic Sierra Nevada. Now we see the volcanoes from another angle: Apam in the State of Hidalgo. The painting shows the furrows for planting the agave used to make pulque in this Hidalgan hacienda. It is a tribute of unparalleled beauty to the land and nature of Mexico.
The artist did the painting on commission from the owner of the Hacienda of Chimalpa, Mr. José Solórzano, and there are two known versions prepared from on-site sketches. Velasco chose the highest vantage point, viewing the hacienda from the west to include the majestic Sierra Nevada. Now we see the volcanoes from another angle: Apam in the State of Hidalgo. The painting shows the furrows for planting the agave used to make pulque in this Hidalgan hacienda. It is a tribute of unparalleled beauty to the land and nature of Mexico.

© CHIN 2001. All Rights Reserved

Vista de México desde Chapultepec

Vista de México desde Chapultepec (View of Mexico City from Chapultepec)

Jacinto Laclotte (? - ?)
Colección de Arte of the Banco Nacional de México, S.A.
1809
MEXICO
watercolour on paper
39.00 X 57.00 cm
© Banco Nacional de México, S.A.


Signed in 1809, Jacinto Laclotte's painting gives us a glimpse of the city he found upon his arrival. In June or July, 1808, the incredible news of the overthrow of the Bourbon monarchy in Spain by Napoleon reached the capital of the viceroyalty. For this reason there was nothing special about the arrival of the French in New Spain. Travelling artists began to paint views of the city as well as portraits for the upper bourgeoisie. From Chapultepec Castle Laclotte paints a summer city whose existence can only be inferred from the large number of domes, almost in the background of the painting near the mountains.
Signed in 1809, Jacinto Laclotte's painting gives us a glimpse of the city he found upon his arrival. In June or July, 1808, the incredible news of the overthrow of the Bourbon monarchy in Spain by Napoleon reached the capital of the viceroyalty. For this reason there was nothing special about the arrival of the French in New Spain. Travelling artists began to paint views of the city as well as portraits for the upper bourgeoisie. From Chapultepec Castle Laclotte paints a summer city whose existence can only be inferred from the large number of domes, almost in the background of the painting near the mountains.

© CHIN 2001. All Rights Reserved

Cardón, Estado de Oaxaca

Cardón, Estado de Oaxaca (Giant Cactus, State of Oaxaca)

José María Velasco (1840 - 1912)
Museo Nacional de Arte. INBA. CONACULTA
1887
MEXICO
oil on canvas
61.00 X 45.00 cm
© Museo Nacional de Arte. INBA. CONACULTA


José María Velasco's interest in getting to know the flora and the geological characteristics of the region led him to develop a way of viewing based on close observation. The unexpectedly monumental mass of the forking branches, significant in the region, reveal its true proportions when compared to the person standing in the shade of the old cactus. The place where he is standing is the only area of shelter from the blazing sun of the Mexican countryside, through which a small trickle of water runs, creating in its path the only vegetation in the huge expanse of land surrounding the cactus fork. The 19th-century Mexican landscape school was defined by the work of Velasco.
José María Velasco's interest in getting to know the flora and the geological characteristics of the region led him to develop a way of viewing based on close observation. The unexpectedly monumental mass of the forking branches, significant in the region, reveal its true proportions when compared to the person standing in the shade of the old cactus. The place where he is standing is the only area of shelter from the blazing sun of the Mexican countryside, through which a small trickle of water runs, creating in its path the only vegetation in the huge expanse of land surrounding the cactus fork. The 19th-century Mexican landscape school was defined by the work of Velasco.

© CHIN 2001. All Rights Reserved

La ciudad de México

La ciudad de México (Mexico City)

Juan O'Gorman (1905 - 1982)
Museo de Arte Moderno. INBA. CONACULTA
1949
MEXICO
tempera on masonite
© Museo de Arte Moderno. INBA. CONACULTA


This painting gives us the artist's view of Mexico City from the Monument to the Revolution, and from this perspective both visually and historically he recalls the past. On one side of the sky Quetzalcóatl appears and on the other two angels carry a Mexican flag bearing the legend "Viva Mexico". In the foreground, the artist is carrying a map known as the Santa Cruz map, which represents the incipient colonial city being erected on the ruins of the pre-Hispanic one, and we can make out the lakes, the roadways and some important buildings.
This painting gives us the artist's view of Mexico City from the Monument to the Revolution, and from this perspective both visually and historically he recalls the past. On one side of the sky Quetzalcóatl appears and on the other two angels carry a Mexican flag bearing the legend "Viva Mexico". In the foreground, the artist is carrying a map known as the Santa Cruz map, which represents the incipient colonial city being erected on the ruins of the pre-Hispanic one, and we can make out the lakes, the roadways and some important buildings.

© CHIN 2001. All Rights Reserved

La mulita

From the beginning, Abraham Angel's painting was appreciated for its naive quality and its deliberately "primitive" approach, whence its acceptance, since his work incorporated to a large extent the new aesthetic categories for the creation of a national art form which, through a programme of artistic education directed at children and the popular sector of society, proclaimed the values of spontaneity and freedom of expression. Being largely self-taught, Angel was able to create his own style characterized by an economy of draughtmanship and free application of colour. This young painter's early death contributed to the creation of the myth surrounding him and his few works.

Abraham Ángel (1905 - 1924)
Museo de Arte Moderno. INBA. CONACULTA
1923
MEXICO
oil on cardboard
© Museo de Arte Moderno. INBA. CONACULTA


From the beginning, Abraham Angel's painting was appreciated for its naive quality and its deliberately "primitive" approach, whence its acceptance, since his work incorporated to a large extent the new aesthetic categories for the creation of a national art form which, through a programme of artistic education directed at children and the popular sector of society, proclaimed the values of spontaneity and freedom of expression. Being largely self-taught, Angel was able to create his own style characterized by an economy of draughtmanship and free application of colour. This young painter's early death contributed to the creation of the myth surrounding him and his few works.
From the beginning, Abraham Angel's painting was appreciated for its naive quality and its deliberately "primitive" approach, whence its acceptance, since his work incorporated to a large extent the new aesthetic categories for the creation of a national art form which, through a programme of artistic education directed at children and the popular sector of society, proclaimed the values of spontaneity and freedom of expression. Being largely self-taught, Angel was able to create his own style characterized by an economy of draughtmanship and free application of colour. This young painter's early death contributed to the creation of the myth surrounding him and his few works.

© CHIN 2001. All Rights Reserved

Learning Objectives

The learner will:

  • Be conscious of the emotional impact that is caused and shaped by a work of art
  • Recognize that art, in the form of national icons, shapes and affirms a nation’s identity
  • Recognize national icons and the country to which they belong, and form an opinion about the identity of the nation they represent
  • Be aware of the commonality of themes in landscape art among the three North American countries

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