Jaime Lara's beautifully illustrated Birdman of Assisi: Art and the Apocalyptic in the Colonial Andes offers a sweeping account of the special role that painted and sculptural imagery of Saint Francis of Assisi played in Andean religiosity during the period of Spanish colonial rule. Lara deftly highlights the iconographic transformations that occurred when Saint Francis traveled to the Andes as an agent of religious conversion. Countless processional sculptures produced in Peru and Bolivia feature Saint Francis with silver wing attachments, while canvas paintings and murals depict the saint flying through the heavens. These iconographical shifts, Lara argues, can be attributed to early Franciscan conversion efforts that drew on preexisting Andean conceptions of the divine as embodied by flying shamans and other airborne figures. In fact, no known European paintings or sculptures of a winged Saint Francis existed prior to the mid-eighteenth century....
Book Review|November 01 2017
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Ananda Cohen-Aponte; Birdman of Assisi: Art and the Apocalyptic in the Colonial Andes. Hispanic American Historical Review 1 November 2017; 97 (4): 725–726. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00182168-4214378
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