Quito School of Art

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Quito School of Art

Quito School of Art, the first school of its kind established in the Audiencia of Quito. The school was founded in 1552 at El Colegio de San Andrés. From its inauguration, the school attracted a number of talented Indians and Mestizos who studied painting, manuscript illumination, and sculpture. In the last quarter of the sixteenth century, Fray Pedro Bedón, who had studied painting in Lima with the Italian Jesuit Bernardo Bitti, was the most influential patron of indigenous popular religious art; his support became the basis for the Quito School of Art.

Arte Quiteño merged Catholic religious imagery with indigenous symbols and composition, producing a unique mixture of European baroque and plateresque style with the rigid, static composition of indigenous art. The Virgin may be painted with European features, but clothed in a feathered robe and holding a child dressed in indigenous fashion. Quito artists and artisans quickly made European techniques of oil painting and polychrome sculpture their own. The city's monastaries and convents became major centers of religious art production for South America. Although most of the artists are anonymous, a few, like the painter Miguel de Santiago and the sculptors Bernardo de Legarda, Caspicara, Padre Carlos, and Diego de Olmos, produced identifiable bodies of work.

See alsoArt: The Colonial Era; Catholic Church: The Colonial Period.


José Gabriel Navarro, El arte en la provincia de Quito (1960).

Hernán Crespo Toral, Filoteo Samaniego Salazar, José María Vargas, O.P., eds., Arte ecuatoriano, vol. 2 (1976), esp. pp. 87-128.

José María Vargas, O.P., et al., "El arte durante la colonia," in Historia del Ecuador, vol. 4 (1988), pp. 233-262.

Additional Bibliography

Arte en la historia de Santo Domingo. Quito: Ediciones Banco de los Andes, 1994.

Vargas, José Maria. El arte quiteño en los siglos XVI, XVII, y XVIII. Quito: Impr. Romero, 1949.

                              Linda Alexander RodrÍguez