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Painting as a form of communication in Colonial Central Andes: variations on the form of ornamental art in early world society

Valenzuela, Fernando A.

This dissertation offers a meta-synthesis of the history of painting in colonial central Andes from the point of view of the theory of social systems put forward by Niklas Luhmann. Assuming this author's central insight regarding the observation of art as a social phenomenon – namely, that art is a form of communication inasmuch as it triggers a search for meaning that is used as a basis for further communications or behaviors (artistic or otherwise) – this research attempts to answer the question: How did paintings trigger a search for meaning in this region of western South America from the second half of the sixteenth century to the eighteenth century and what societal conditions made this form of communication probable? I propose that, in a peripheral context in which the evolution of art wasn't guided by a differentiated artistic memory, painting constituted itself as communication through the tight coupling of forms in the medium that was made available by the ornamentation of symbols. Even though different modalities of painting could be directed to different audiences according to a primarily stratified differentiation of society, this medium established a common denominator for what could be expected from painting in both sides of the social hierarchy, establishing which variations in painting could be successful in the central Andes during most of the colonial period. Art participated of a sphere of social reality in which every experience or action could be communicated as contingent in the light of transcendence, so that it triggered a search for meaning that was religious proper ...

+ zhb_1023203 + Sprache: eng + Code Diss LU: UNILU Diss 2009 F2 EL
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