Inventing Indigenism: Francisco Laso's Image of Modern Peru (Hardcover)

Inventing Indigenism: Francisco Laso's Image of Modern Peru By Natalia Majluf Cover Image
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One of the outstanding painters of the nineteenth century, Francisco Laso (1823–1869) set out to give visual form to modern Peru. His solemn and still paintings of indigenous subjects were part of a larger project, spurred by writers and intellectuals actively crafting a nation in the aftermath of independence from Spain. In this book, at once an innovative account of modern indigenism and the first major monograph on Laso, Natalia Majluf explores the rise of the image of the Indian in literature and visual culture. Reading Laso’s works through a broad range of sources, Majluf traces a decisive break in a long history of representations of indigenous peoples that began with the Spanish conquest. She ties this transformation to the modern concept of culture, which redefined both the artistic field and the notion of indigeneity. As an abstraction produced through indigenist discourse, an icon of authenticity, and a densely racialized cultural construct, the Indian would emerge as a central symbol of modern Andean nationalisms.

Inventing Indigenism brings the work and influence of this extraordinary painter to the forefront as it offers a broad perspective on the dynamics of art and visual culture in nineteenth-century Latin America.

About the Author

Natalia Majluf is an art historian and curator based in Lima, Peru. She is the Tinker visiting professor at the University of Chicago Fall 2021.

Praise For…

Inventing Indigenism winds through the dense and entangled evolution of nationalist concepts and emblematic racial envisionings of the Peruvian Indian, Indigeneity, and Indigenism...[Majluf's] narratives are compelling...and advance important information and insights through intricate and multifaceted analyses that view the notion of nation as unstable...Inventing Indigenism is a multilayered examination of nation building. At the same time, the book asks all readers to consider how racial stereotypes and perspectives of the past, embedded in complex political and cultural viewpoints, continue as present day unfixed social constructs that still function in assessing the identity of self as well as others.

[An] engagingly written and meticulously researched book…Among the many high-quality illustrations, the dark symmetry of the 'Inhabitant' amply depicts the dignity of Indian suffering, while a ceramic figurine, cupped reverentially in his hands, references the 'violent stifling' of Inca society and the resultant sense of loss that Laso believed to be imprinted in Indian memory. That is one message of this book. Its other considerable achievement is to have begun the restoration of the nineteenth century to its rightful place in the cultural history of both Peru and Latin America.
— Times Literary Supplement

A groundbreaking study...The book, like a fine exhibition, is expertly curated to guide the reader through a fascinating exposition about the nineteenth-century origins of modern pictorial indigenism in Peru as featured in Laso’s work...This compelling and exquisite book is the product of a dedicated and masterful Art Historian. It is a book that should be required reading for every Latin American scholar conducting research on the complexities of colonial and republican legacies of Peruvian indigenism and identity politics. Natalia Majful’s contextual analysis and insightful expertise has rendered a valuable and most welcome scholarly contribution to both academic and nonacademic enthusiasts of Latin American art.
— Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Product Details
ISBN: 9781477324080
ISBN-10: 1477324089
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Publication Date: December 21st, 2021
Pages: 232
Language: English