The English translation of Michael Schuessler's 2009 Spanish text only partially achieves the goals of a valuable synthetic study. As a survey of sixteenth-century mendicant visual culture in New Spain, it effectively compiles and reworks much that is known without, however, providing any startling new insights or taking advantage of more recent scholarship (by, for example, Samuel Edgerton, Pablo Escalante Gonzalbo, Jaime Lara, Viviana Díaz Balsera, or Eleanor Wake). The author broadly addresses the impact of all the arts (theater, song, and images) marshaled by the mendicant orders—Franciscans, Dominicans, and Augustinians—in order to forcefully communicate the Christian doctrine to an indigenous constituency. As a cultural historian, Schuessler brings his knowledge of the literary arts to bear on his interpretation of the meaning and function of the built environment and its painted and sculpted decoration. The result is an introductory text for the...

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