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"Their Cortés and Our Cortés": Spanish Colonialism and Aztec Representation

Michael Schreffler
The Art Bulletin
Vol. 91, No. 4 (December 2009), pp. 407-425
Published by: College Art Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27801638
Page Count: 19
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"Their Cortés and Our Cortés": Spanish Colonialism and Aztec Representation
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Abstract

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Spaniards attempted to describe the practice of Aztec painting through the lens of European art theory. Their rhetoric and iconography, which constructed a distorted view of painting in Aztec Mexico, potentially tell us less about that practice than it does about the anxieties and expectations of those who produced those texts and images. As scholars have suggested, the art of painting may have provided a site for contact and compatibility between Aztecs and Spaniards. However, it was also a topos that gave apt form to early modern conceptualizations of historiographic practice and cultural difference.

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