Bat-ami Artzi — Clashing Temporalities and their Reflection in Colonial Andean and Spanish Art
Upon the arrival of the Spaniards in the Andean region in 1532, the encounter between the two civilizations caused friction in many aspects of life. This project focuses on the clash between the two civilizations and their perception of the “other”—the Spaniards by the Andeans and vice versa—through the prism of their contrasting temporal ontologies, and studies the artistic representations that echo them.
Spanish dominion was seen by the Andeans as an evil pachacuti, a Quechua term denoting the end of an era and the beginning of a new one or “the transformation of the world.” The Neo-Inca state (1536-1572 AD) sought to bring about another pachacuti that would return the Incas to power— in other words, to bring back the past.
In contrast, the Spaniards based their colonial understanding of the Inca Empire on their own past. This is manifest in two ways. The first is the comparison made between the Inca and Roman Empires, the latter serving as an interpretation model for some Spanish chroniclers. The second appears in texts written by mendicant friars engaged in missionary work in the Americas. They perceived themselves as parallel to Jesus’ apostles and their work as the new primitive and reborn church. This research analyzes the visuality of these temporalities and track its evolution, modification, and continuity in colonial art created in Europe and the Andean region.
Bat-ami Artzi, who received her PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is an art historian, archaeologist, and curator interested in Andean visual and material culture created by ancient and early colonial indigenous societies. Her research focuses on the material representation of ideas through the functions, forms, technologies, materials, iconographies, and aesthetics of artworks. Her studies explore three thematic axes as portrayed through artistic expression: the Spanish invasion from the indigenous perspective; ancient Andean gender structures and ecologies, plants, and landscape. Dr. Artzi’s studies were funded by Harvard University’s Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, the Institute for Art History in Florence (Max Planck Society), the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. For one of her publications she has been awarded the Polonsky Prize for Creativity and Originality in the Humanistic Disciplines.