Art of South America – The Thoma Collection

One of the largest and longest-lasting European empires, the Spanish realms spanned from South Asia to South America and lasted nearly 500 years. The Carl and Marilynn Thoma Foundation is committed to promoting the art of the Spanish Americas and includes works from present-day Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.

This Virgin and Child is attributed to Bernardo Bitti, a Jesuit friar who came to Peru from Italy in 1572. Bitti was moved from place to place in South America to create artwork for the Jesuit churches. This work was created in the days before they used actual babies as models for artwork, thus the very adult-looking Baby Jesus.

The Visitation comes from Peru and is a common subject of Spanish American paintings. Mary, the mother of Jesus, visits Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist while they are both with child. Mary’s greeting of Elizabeth causes the child inside her to leap with joy. (See Luke 1:39-56)

The Visitation – Details

The Presentation at the Temple comes from the workshop of Bernardo Rodriguez, an artist from Ecuador who was active from 1772-1802. It is based on a German print that appeared in 1723. Jesus was brought to the temple in Jerusalem by his parents in accordance with Jewish law. (See Luke 2:22-38)

St Maritn in Exile from Cuzco, Peru. St. Martin served Pope Martin I from 649-655. This print shows him writing a letter while he is in exile in Crimea where he died.


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