Colonial Mural Painting Pilgrimage through the Northern Andes


The study of colonial mural work in the Northern Andes has a lack of comprehensive scholarly analysis that tries to understand the effects of this artistic tendency in religious buildings. The objective of my summer trip to Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia was to lay the ground to perform such a study. I needed to take photographs, gather information, and make connections with local institutions to gain access to their archives and permission to photograph. With the support of the 2017 Tinker Summer Grant, and the Art History Department, I was able to begin this academic journey. I am from Colombia and had visited some colonial sites, but I was amazed by the murals I found in areas I was not able to travel to before due to the violence that swept the country. The success of this trip was attached to months of careful planning, and the relationships I was able to create with local people and institutions. Colonial mural works hold to the imagery of the hands that created them, and the story of the people that lived in and visited those spaces. They were an intricate part of the indoctrinating effort of the Spanish, which included syncretism. Therefore, elements of the indigenous culture can be found in early murals. Works that are not available due to their remote location or lack of documentation are now part of a preliminary dissertation work, which I hope brings awareness to the importance of the study of colonial artwork from the Northern Andes.

Yessica Porras
Publication date: 
August 18, 2017
Publication type: 
Student Research