The curiosity of foreign artists with respect to the native inhabitants of the New World led them to formulate, through the eyes of "the other", what they believed to be the identifying characteristics of each region. Through exaggerating the traits of the original inhabitants, artists created an exotic aura around them which also served to define them. These images were propagated not only in paintings, but also lithographs and photographs, leading in time to the formation of stereotypes which neutralize the richness of the different cultures and their distinctive features. The different daily chores of the native inhabitants, specific to each different geographical setting, were depicted by the artists through linking subjects to their habitat.
The curiosity of foreign artists with respect to the native inhabitants of the New World led them to formulate, through the eyes of "the other", what they believed to be the identifying characteristics of each region. Through exaggerating the traits of the original inhabitants, artists created an exotic aura around them which also served to define them. These images were propagated not only in paintings, but also lithographs and photographs, leading in time to the formation of stereotypes which neutralize the richness of the different cultures and their distinctive features. The different daily chores of the native inhabitants, specific to each different geographical setting, were depicted by the artists through linking subjects to their habitat.

© CHIN 2001. All Rights Reserved

Campesinos

Campesinos (Peasants)

David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896 - 1974)
Museo Nacional de Arte. INBA. CONACULTA. Donación Patronato of the Museo Nacional de Arte, A.C.,1993
c. 1913
MEXICO
pastel sketch on paper
© Museo Nacional de Arte. INBA. CONACULTA


Campesinos embodies the innovating techniques proposed in the teaching methods of the National Academy of Fine Arts at the beginning of the 20th century. As part of painters' artistic training, Alfredo Ramos Martínez established the first Open-Air School of Painting which allowed students, albeit somewhat belatedly, to more freely explore Impressionist and post-Impressionist innovations in form, theme and technique. The works painted there moved visibly away from the teachings of the master, José María Velasco. Free, rapid brush strokes and a luminous palette characterized the students' work. Campesinos is one of David Alfaro Siqueiros' earliest known works as a student at the Academy
Campesinos embodies the innovating techniques proposed in the teaching methods of the National Academy of Fine Arts at the beginning of the 20th century. As part of painters' artistic training, Alfredo Ramos Martínez established the first Open-Air School of Painting which allowed students, albeit somewhat belatedly, to more freely explore Impressionist and post-Impressionist innovations in form, theme and technique. The works painted there moved visibly away from the teachings of the master, José María Velasco. Free, rapid brush strokes and a luminous palette characterized the students' work. Campesinos is one of David Alfaro Siqueiros' earliest known works as a student at the Academy

© 2001, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Tehuanas en el río

Tehuanas en el río (Tehantepec Women at the River).

Tina Modotti (1896 - 1942)
Museo Nacional de Arte. INBA. CONACULTA
1929
MEXICO
photograph
26.90 X 35.00 cm
© Museo Nacional de Arte. INBA. CONACULTA


Tina Modotti arrived in Mexico in 1923, at the high point of activity in the plastic arts movement in Mexico City. Diego Rivera had begun to paint the murals at the Ministry of Public Education, and the motif of the Tehuantepec women as a reappropriation of the essence of Mexico was a general topic of conversation. A few blocks away from the Ministry, at the National Preparatory School, 6 muralists were in the process of converting the building into an art laboratory. Modotti had become an enthusiastic disciple of Edward Weston. When he left, she remained in Mexico, where new social trends led her away from studio photography.
Tina Modotti arrived in Mexico in 1923, at the high point of activity in the plastic arts movement in Mexico City. Diego Rivera had begun to paint the murals at the Ministry of Public Education, and the motif of the Tehuantepec women as a reappropriation of the essence of Mexico was a general topic of conversation. A few blocks away from the Ministry, at the National Preparatory School, 6 muralists were in the process of converting the building into an art laboratory. Modotti had become an enthusiastic disciple of Edward Weston. When he left, she remained in Mexico, where new social trends led her away from studio photography.

© 2001, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

El Río de Juchitán

El Río de Juchitán (The Juchitan River)

Diego Rivera (1886 - 1957)
Private Collection
1950 - 1959
MEXICO
oil on canvas. Polyptych
© CHIN 2001. All Rights Reserved


Diego Rivera's trip to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in the 1920's represented, for the movement coming into being after the 1910 Revolution, a milestone in the Mexican creative vision. The contrast between Europe, from where he was just returning after the devastation of the First World War, and the paradise lost of Tehuantepec would leave an indelible mark on artists. By 1950, when he painted this great polyptych, his imaginative vision had grown stronger over the years, and this mythical portrait of the life of the inhabitants of the Isthmus was the result.
Diego Rivera's trip to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in the 1920's represented, for the movement coming into being after the 1910 Revolution, a milestone in the Mexican creative vision. The contrast between Europe, from where he was just returning after the devastation of the First World War, and the paradise lost of Tehuantepec would leave an indelible mark on artists. By 1950, when he painted this great polyptych, his imaginative vision had grown stronger over the years, and this mythical portrait of the life of the inhabitants of the Isthmus was the result.

© 2001, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Viajeros cruzando el arroyo

Viajeros cruzando el arroyo (Travellers Crossing a Stream)

Daniel Thomas Egerton (1800 - 1842)
Colección de Arte of the Banco Nacional de México, S.A.
c. 1830
MEXICO
oil on canvas mounted on masonite
36.00 X 25.00 cm
© Colección de Arte of the Banco Nacional de México


From the 18th century on, artists had gone along on scientific expeditions to different parts of the world with such explorers as Captain Cook, Malaspina or de Bougainville. Notebook in hand, they had recorded data on the climates, natural environments and phenomena that they were investigating, in a spirit of scientific research proper to the European 18th century, which sought to measure and trace the limits of the known world. The ups and downs of travellers on their long journeys on horseback through the mountains separating the coast from the Mexico City valley basin are depicted by Daniel Thomas Egerton in this scene.
From the 18th century on, artists had gone along on scientific expeditions to different parts of the world with such explorers as Captain Cook, Malaspina or de Bougainville. Notebook in hand, they had recorded data on the climates, natural environments and phenomena that they were investigating, in a spirit of scientific research proper to the European 18th century, which sought to measure and trace the limits of the known world. The ups and downs of travellers on their long journeys on horseback through the mountains separating the coast from the Mexico City valley basin are depicted by Daniel Thomas Egerton in this scene.

© 2001, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

La Alameda de México

La Alameda de México (The Alameda Park in Mexico City).

José María Velasco (1840 - 1912)
Museo Nacional de Arte. INBA. CONACULTA
1866
MEXICO
Oil on Canvas
72,00 X 97,00 cm
© Museo Nacional de Arte. INBA. CONACULTA


The painting's title obscured for many years the true identity of the persons riding down the Alameda in Mexico City. It became possible to identify them when the preparatory studies for the work came to light. On horseback we see Carlota, Empress of Mexico, accompanied by a small cortege, and two groups of aboriginal people and peasants seem to interrupt their toils for a moment to turn their gaze toward the Empress. In the background we see the unlikely proportions of Chapultepec Castle, where the young imperial couple resided. As one of her various responsibilities, Carlota took charge of care of the gardens of the popular Alameda Park in the centre of the city.
The painting's title obscured for many years the true identity of the persons riding down the Alameda in Mexico City. It became possible to identify them when the preparatory studies for the work came to light. On horseback we see Carlota, Empress of Mexico, accompanied by a small cortege, and two groups of aboriginal people and peasants seem to interrupt their toils for a moment to turn their gaze toward the Empress. In the background we see the unlikely proportions of Chapultepec Castle, where the young imperial couple resided. As one of her various responsibilities, Carlota took charge of care of the gardens of the popular Alameda Park in the centre of the city.

© 2001, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives

The learner will:

  • Be conscious of the emotional impact that is caused and shaped by a work of art
  • Be aware of the commonality of themes in landscape art of different North American countries
  • Be aware of the changes in landscape art over time
  • Question sources of images that are personally relevant or significant to them in contemporary culture
  • Comprehend the way artists can utilize an artistic medium to exaggerate the traits of individuals leading to the formation of stereotypes

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