The Casta paintings of Colonial Mexico : the politics of constructing social order through art

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1996

Authors

Pooley, Rachel Vanessa

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Abstract

This thesis examines the conceptual structures and political contexts of race mixture depicted in Las Castas Mexicanas, a genre of colonial Mexican painting. The first chapter places this genre in historiographical perspective, and provides the conceptual contexts within which this author analyzes the paintings. The second chapter examines the social order represented in the paintings, specifically in terms of race and gender. The third chapter traces commonalities between the Casta paintings and Old World systems of measuring and diagramming social differences. The fourth chapter places the Casta paintings within a political debate about the control of art, and argues that this genre can be seen as part of a larger political process of the struggle for power between Spain and her colonies

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