Art in Mexico before and after its independence 

"Mexico has gone through a very complex artistic transition since the conquest to independence. Despite so many external influences, Mexico has undergone several transformations that have led it to find its own voice and its original artistic style, which years later would be the birth of Mexican realism, surrealism and muralism."
Por Dafne Venet
Sep 4, 2022

For this entry I will analyze an article that talks about art in Mexico before and after its independence, commemorating this month of September. Firstly, the author mentions the art that prevailed in the 17th and part of the 18th centuries (1600 to 1750), which is highly characterized as a colonial art. There is a lot of visibility about this period but little is said about the art that emerged later and more is mentioned about the art during the Porfiriato that is inspired by the French influence and Art Nouveau.

Most of the artists in New Spain were foreigners, many of them Spanish.

That is why today we will talk about the art that covers the end of the 18th century, which is the Neoclassical period and the second that occurs after the Reformation in 1867 with Romanticism. As it is known, artistic trends were slow to reach New Spain due to its remoteness. Most of the artists in New Spain were foreigners, many of them Spanish. During the colonial era, the training of artists took place in workshops. This was until the Royal Academy of Noble Arts of San Carlos was founded in 1781, which continues to operate today. This academy was run by European artists and many people from all over Latin America came to Mexico City to be educated there.

The way of thinking of Mexican society that was in the process of progress with different artistic manifestations.

At the end of the 18th century, the influence of European society, the illustration and the nationalism of countries such as France began to be reflected little by little in Mexican art. This influenced the way of thinking of Mexican society that was in the process of progress with different artistic manifestations. Such as the Neoclassical that tried to modify the aesthetic values ​​in architecture, painting, literature and sculpture mainly. Neoclassical painting combines nationalist characteristics and was more noticeable in the architecture that was trying to replicate the new Spanish architectural stage, since it needed to reaffirm its imperial, rational and orderly power over New Spain.



The second period that is identified is with the Reformation, characterized by the influence of European Romanticism. Which sought to portray the temporary reality of the country. In the early and mid-19th century, artistic production in Mexico was inactive or of low quality, due to the independence, internal conflicts, and the poor economy that our country was going through. Neoclassical construction meant building more economical, practical and modern buildings than the Baroque style, which has been cataloged as a symbol of colonialism.

Mexico has gone through a very complex artistic transition since the conquest to independence.

The institution was very much in control of artistic trends and opted for the new Neoclassical style, which was a freer style than the Baroque. This style was adopted in the architectural field by many post-independence governments, thus being considered a national style. However, this style was not very loved by Mexican society because it reminded them of the colonial era and Spanish rule. The most predominant genres that were reflected in the painting of this period were the themes of manners, portraits, engravings, religious and urban perspectives.

During Santa Anna’s time, an effort was made to give Mexican architecture and painting a different style. Putting an end to academic art, giving way to greater creative freedom. Likewise, during the administration of Benito Juárez, thanks to the reform laws and the nationalization of ecclesiastical property, urbanism changed radically. But the neoclassical influence continued, Juárez was not a fan of this current because it was like invoking colonialism.

The predominant literary movements at this time, in addition to Romanticism, were Realism-Naturalism and Modernism.

With other manifestations of nationalist literary diffusion gaining momentum, such as newspapers, encyclopedias and magazines (some of which were produced and directed by women) such as Las Hijas de Anáhuac or El álbum de la mujer).

Mexico has gone through a very complex artistic transition since the conquest to independence. Despite so many external influences, Mexico has undergone several transformations that have led it to find its own voice and its original artistic style, which years later would be the birth of Mexican realism, surrealism and muralism.

Dafne Venet

Dafne Venet

Arts & Books writer of The Bookish Man.
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