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Cuzco

Escuela Cuzqueña-Cuzco school of painting


A school which combines techniques of 16th & 17th century Europe with the imagination of Indian artists of the Andean highlands, who had only a few Spanish samples as guidance. Cuzco was the capital of the Inca Empire, which was captured by the Spanish conquerors led by Francisco Pizarro in 1553. Although Cuzco was the main centre of this school, it could also be found in the Andean regions of Ecuador, Bolivia and Columbia. Local artists also used the paintings as a form of a protest against their Spanish rulers. Many Cuzco paintings display Inca symbols. The Incas believed that their Emperor was descended from the sun, so the halo is often replaced by the sun. Madonnas (Mamachás) were sometimes painted with European faces, but with Inca cloaks and head wear. Archangels were also popular Spanish subjects often painted with an "arcabucero", a 15th century long barrelled gun. We commission highly skilled Andean artists to produce a wide variety of traditional style paintings of which the originals can be found in musea and other private collections.