Imagining Identity in New Spain: Race, Lineage, and the by Magali M. Carrera

By Magali M. Carrera

Reacting to the emerging numbers of mixed-blood (Spanish-Indian-Black African) humans in its New Spain colony, the eighteenth-century Bourbon executive of Spain tried to categorize and keep watch over its colonial topics via expanding social law in their our bodies and the areas they inhabited. The discourse of calidad (status) and raza (lineage) on which the rules have been dependent additionally stumbled on expression within the visible tradition of recent Spain, relatively within the certain style of casta work, which alleged to painting discrete different types of mixed-blood plebeians. utilizing an interdisciplinary process that still considers criminal, literary, and non secular files of the interval, Magali Carrera specializes in eighteenth-century portraiture and casta work to appreciate how the folk and areas of latest Spain have been conceptualized and visualized. She explains how those visible practices emphasised a seeming realism that developed colonial bodies--elite and non-elite--as knowable and visual. even as, in spite of the fact that, she argues that the chaotic specificity of the lives and lived stipulations in eighteenth-century New Spain belied the appearance of social orderliness and totality narrated in its visible artwork. finally, she concludes, the inherent ambiguity of the colonial physique and its areas introduced chaos to all goals of order.

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Extra resources for Imagining Identity in New Spain: Race, Lineage, and the Colonial Body in Portraiture and Casta Paintings (Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Series in Latin American and Latino Art and Culture)

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55 In colonial visual discourse, the gaze is a visual totality, that single, central vantage point from which surveillance or looking occurs. The 18 IMAGINING IDEN TITY IN NEW SPAIN colonial gaze and its mechanism of surveillance are strategies for differentiation and dominance, that is, strategies to overcome ambiguity and locate hybridity. In the teetering equation that is colonialism, the Other must constantly be under surveillance, watched for any shifts in behaviors, appearances, and movements.

1763. Oil. 5 cm. Private collection, Mexico. The Faces and Bodies of Eighteenth-Century Metropolitan Mexico 27 that Cabrera painted both elite portraits and images of non-elite castas allows us to analyze how an artist applied the prescriptions of each format in order to present his subjects’ respective calidades. Painted during the 1760s, close to the time of his portrait of Doña María, the first panel of the Cabrera series, entitled . De Español, y d India; Mestisa (1. 3). Exercising his elite male prerogative to be seen in public spaces, a Spanish man, marked by his European-style clothing (complete with tri-corner hat and white wig), is placed in a unique and curious profile stance, with his head turned toward the Indian woman— whose calidad associates her with public spaces—and away from the viewer.

1. D. 1. The increase in city population after 1749 due to a poor harvest and severe epidemics in rural areas caused Indians to move to Spanish sections of the city. 27 The significant increase in the population in 1790 is attributed to increased birthrate and immigration from the countryside. A 1790 census mandated by Viceroy Revillagigedo shows the population broken down by race to indicate both Mexico City and the Intendancy of Mexico. 2. 28 While these demographic statistics are limited in scope, they do point out the very distinct presence in urban eighteenth-century Mexico City of what appears to have been a larger Spanish, mestizo, and mulatto population than in the surrounding countryside.

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