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Inventing Indigenism

Inventing Indigenism
Francisco Laso's Image of Modern Peru

A fascinating account of the modern reinvention of the image of the Indian in nineteenth-century literature and visual culture, seen through the work of Peruvian painter Francisco Laso.

Series: William and Bettye Nowlin Endowment

November 2021
Not yet published
$50.00

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288 pages | 7 x 10 |
ISBN: 
978-1-4773-2408-0
Description: 

One of the outstanding painters of the nineteenth century, Francisco Laso (1823–1869) set out to give visual form to modern Peru. His solemn and still paintings of indigenous subjects were part of a larger project, spurred by writers and intellectuals actively crafting a nation in the aftermath of independence from Spain. In this book, at once an innovative account of modern indigenism and the first major monograph on Laso, Natalia Majluf explores the rise of the image of the Indian in literature and visual culture. Reading Laso’s works through a broad range of sources, Majluf traces a decisive break in a long history of representations of indigenous peoples that began with the Spanish conquest. She ties this transformation to the modern concept of culture, which redefined both the artistic field and the notion of indigeneity. As an abstraction produced through indigenist discourse, an icon of authenticity, and a densely racialized cultural construct, the Indian would emerge as a central symbol of modern Andean nationalisms.

Beautifully illustrated, Inventing Indigenism brings the work and influence of this extraordinary painter to the forefront as it offers a broad perspective on the dynamics of art and visual culture in nineteenth century Latin America.

Contents: 
  • A Note on the Text
  • Preface
  • Introduction
    • Francisco Laso: A Republican Biography
    • Indigenism’s National Imaginaries
    • From Society, into Painting, and Back
    • Precedents: A Short History of the Indian—Concept and Image
  • 1. The Indian: Image of the Nation
    • A Local Antiquity
    • Idealization
    • Painting’s Critical Function
    • Gonzalo Pizarro: The Scene of Conquest and the Spanish Legacy
    • The Indian as Cultural Concept
    • Creole Failures
    • The Indian as Allegory and Symbol
  • 2. The Scene of Approximation
    • The Country of Melancholy: The Creole Invention of the Andean World
    • Melancholy’s Modern Transformations
    • An Andean Legend: The Burial of the Priest
    • The Inscrutable Indian
    • The Rhetoric of Approximation: The Pascana Series
    • A Critical Fortune of Racial Readings
    • Reading Race: The Role of the Viewer
    • The Construction of the Indian Image
  • 3. Picturing Race
    • Impossible Images
    • The Elusive Indian
  • Epilogue: Personal Narratives, Public Images
  • Chronology
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
Author: 

Natalia Majluf is the former director of the Museo de Arte de Lima.