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Ars memoriae and Painting in Juan de Castellanos's House (Seventeenth Century, Tunja Colombia)

Sat, March 24, 4:00 to 5:30pm, Hilton Riverside Complex, Chart Room C


The ceiling frescoes of the chaplain Juan de Castellanos’s House have been studied from an Art History point of view. Most of the scholars argue that the purpose of these paintings was to decorate the room where they are located. This paper takes distance from that interpretation and stands on Spanish rhetoric and ars memoriae treatises that have been found in inventories of wills of some affluent inhabitants of Tunja during that time. Giving special attention to Francisco Sánchez de las Brozas’s Artificiosae memoriae ars (1582), this presentation demonstrates how these paintings were located in specific places so the owners of the house were able to persuade certain religious and identity discourses in the memory of the observers, according to the social order that Spanish Monarchy was establishing in the New World.


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