Ecuador Arts

By | December 14, 2021

The excavations carried out in the north of the country along the coasts of Manabí and Esmeraldas, in Azuay and Cañar, have brought to light the traces of a civilization prior to the Incasic conquest and already quite developed in the decoration of domestic objects and in general in the so-called arts. minors. The architecture does not seem to correspond to these conditions of development, which owes the practice of large, soberly decorated stone constructions to the very short reign of the Incas. In just fifty years of their dominion they executed monumental buildings such as the Palacio de Callo, the fortress of Inga-Pirca and the large factories for which Tomebamba was named the second capital of the Inca empire.

The Spanish conquest stifled, here as elsewhere, local tendencies, but not the natural dispositions of the residents of the kingdom of Quito who adapted to the new artistic forms imported from Europe. Among the buildings in Quito after the conquest, the oldest is the Franciscan convent, which, begun in 1534, found its final and current form only towards the middle of the century. XVII. Its main architects were the friars Jodoco Ricke of Ghent and Antonio Rodríguez of Quito, who demonstrated with that work how European teachings had found immediate correspondence in the happy artistic instinct of the natives. The church of Santa Chiara and the cloister of San Domenico, annexed to the magnificent church of the same name, are due to the same architect, Friar Antonio Rodríguez. José Jaime Ortiz. For Ecuador culture and traditions, please check

Since the early days of the colonial period, painters and sculptors were very numerous in Ecuador, the works of which soon spread almost everywhere from Mexico to Chile. The fame of these oldest local art schools grew until the time of the republic.

The first drawing schools in Quito date back to the mid-century. XVI, like the one opened by the Franciscan friars in the college of S. Andrea and the other that the Spanish Diego de Robles kept at home. Thus, earlier than in other Latin American countries, a tradition was established which gave results, if not always excellent, at least very numerous. Luís de Ribera who painted in the cathedral and in St. Francis, Father Vedón who decorated the cloister of the Recoleta in Quito and the refectories of the Dominican convents of Santa Fe de Bogotá and Tunja, Miguel de Santiago who left works in almost all the churches and monasteries of Quito, but especially in St. Augustine the picture of the Rule and a series of stories from the life of the Saint, Goribár with its Profrti in the Jesuit church, Bernabé Lobato and Simón de Valenzuela, friends and fellow students of Miguel de Santiago, the Samaniego, continuer of his manner in the Assumption of the Virgin and Jesus at the column, both in the cathedral, the Morales, the Vela, the Oviedo, the Jesuit Hernando de la Cruz, José Ramírez, Juan Benavides, and later Bernardo Rodríguez who revived the Quito painting which had fallen after the death of Goribár and Samaniego, Antonio Salas, who was the link between colonial and later art, Rafael Salas, founder of landscape painting in Ecuador, Luís Cadena, Juan Manosalvas, Rafael Troya, Joaquín Pinto, the most original of painters Eucadorians, José Cortés and his sons Antonio and Nicola who together with Vicente Sánchez Barrionuevo, Antonio de Silva and Francisco Villaroel illustrated the botanical works of Mutis that have remained unpublished in the Madrid Natural History Museum, are the main representatives of Ecuadorian painting, influenced by with Spanish, French trends,above all Italian, but not without its own originality.

Among the sculptors, the first place in chronological order goes to Diego de Robles, who fifty years after the foundation of Quito painted the statues of the Virgin by Guapulo and Quinche and the Baptism of Jesus on the high altar of the church of San Francesco. Following Antonio Fernández, author of a S. Jerome in the cathedral, Bernardo de Legarda, Manuel Chill known as Caspicara, to whom we owe a statue of St. Francis in the church of the same name and the Virtues in the cathedral, José Almos, with a dying Christ in the church of San Rocco, father Carlos, priest secular who held the first place among the sculptors of his time, Manuel Salas and his disciple José Domingo Carrillo, who modeled a S. Vincenzo de ‘Paoli for the hospital church and a S. Francesco di Paola for the Franciscan church in Quito, and Gaspar Zangurima, called El Lluqui (the one-armed) because he worked with his left hand.

Characteristic in the churches of Ecuador is the richness and variety of the carvings set in gold. Most of these decorations are anonymous, mostly the work of indigenous mestizos; but for some the documents give us an indication of the authors, among which we remember Gabriel Guillahamin, Francisco Tipán of the century. XVII and Francisco Benítez of the century. XVIII.

The desire for luxury, the abundance of gold and silver and the long prior tradition favored the development of goldsmithing in Ecuador during the colonial period.

Since 1905, artistic teaching is officially given in the Escuela nacional de bellas artes, which replaced the Acad mia de bellas artes for thirty years, suppressed in 1875. First in one, then in the other they taught Cadena, Manosalvas, Pinto, Rafael Salvas and the historian and art critic JG Navarro, from whose classes came the young and lively group of artists of the present generation. Ecuadorian art museums are in the churches of S. Francisco, della Merced, the Jesuits, S. Chiara and in the Capilla Mayor.

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