MADRID : Spain gets a crash course in a former colony's art. Several shows feature Peruvian works both historical and modern.

A painting from Peru on loan to the Prado Museum here in the Spanish capital, Madrid, captures an extraordinary moment in Spain's colonization of the Americas.

The anonymous 18th-century canvas portrays the wedding of an Inca princess and conquistador witnessed by Inca royals and gold regalia and Spanish clerks in black cloaks.

Behind the apparent harmony lies a tale of defeat and devastation. Yet the union pointing depicts also also signals the birth of a mixed culture, whose art is only now receiving its due.

''This is the first time we're showing a painting from colonial America,'' Miguel Falomir, the Prado's director, said by telephone.

''The Prado owns ''between 15 and 20'' paintings made in Spain's former colonies, he said, but they are kept by the ethnographic Museum of Americas.

They have never been shown alongside European old masters.

For centuries. ''we've considered this art a second class.'' Mr. Falomir said. ''That, thank God, has changed.''

''The Marriages of Martin de Layola to Beatriz Nusta and Jean de Borja to Lorenzo Nusta de Loyola,'' an oil painting of the Cusco school of art, was made during Viceroyalty of Peru.

Staring in 1542, the viceroys ruled large stretches of South America in the name of the Spanish king until Peru declared independence in 1821.

It was time of feudal exploitation and forced religion conversion, but also of cultural flourishing

Local artists learned to paint in styles popular in Europe, introducing Peruvian landscape, maize, guinea pigs and parrots into biblical scenes, and blending Renaissance , baroque and Incan symbols.

The main wedding, in the foreground of the painting, is between the niece of the last Inca rebel, Tupac Amaru, and the Spanish captain who defeated him.

Their marriage in 1572 followed her uncle's execution in Cusco, the Spanish-occupied Inca capital. The second wedding, tucked away in a corner, show's the couples daughter marrying in Spain almost 40 years later.

The painting, which contains European and Amerindian perspectives, is on loan to the Prado from the Pedro de Osma Museum in Lima, Peru.

It's display in Spain's national museum during the institutions 200th anniversary year suggests an important shift in the way Latin American colonial art is seen in Spain.

The honor and serving of the latest operational research on Colonial Periods and the Americas,  continues. The World Students Society thanks author Maya Jaggi.


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