12042 - Cross-cultural Habits of Seeing in Early Colonial Mesoamerica

This paper examines discrete modalities of seeing, and thus of knowing, within the rich intervisuality of the early colonial period. In other words, how were images being read and understood by varied constituencies? Using examples from European prints, the Sahaguntine corpus, and mendicant wall paintings, I challenge scholarship that privileges the ocularcentrism of early modern Europe, and its insistence that certain pictorial techniques (perspective, chiaroscuro and mimesis among them) were successful colonizing tools. The heterodox mixture of styles and iconographies, I suggest, index the fact that vision itself was being manipulated and coopted by indigenous artists. I also turn to the materiality of artworks, their substance and color, both visible and unseen. Indigenous visuality was a bodily experience that was kinesthetic, collective and multi-sensorial. Images, like words, were interlaced with the things of the physical world in ways that favored metonymy over metaphor, embodiment over concept. I am not suggesting a “Latin American” or “Mesoamerican” way of seeing, but what Ladislav Kesner, calls “cognitive eyes,” the localized kinds of looking that characterize people who may share a visual environment but have different and distinct agendas.

Autores: Peterson, Jeanette Favrot (University of California, Ud States of Am / USA)


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