With the publication of Ananda Cohen Suarez’s book, Andean studies and colonial Latin American art history at last have an English-language treatment of mural painting in highland Peru, one of the most significant artistic genres of the colonial period. This book is guided less by one central claim or question than by an attempt to advance a general approach: Cohen Suarez urges us to contextualize murals within their architectonic settings and the historical moments of their production and reception. Seeing murals as “embedded” (an oft-repeated word) in social frames reveals overlapping registers in which murals could produce meaning for different audiences. Though focused on some of the most well-known and accessible cycles in churches on the route connecting Cuzco with Lake Titicaca, Cohen Suarez suggests her approach could be extended to any example in the broad territory, stretching into present-day Bolivia and...

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