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Spanish colonial art and architecture

Andean Architecture

In the architecture of the Andean region, as in Mexico, there was richness and inventiveness, but with some significant variations. One of the most important 16th-century buildings was the Church of San Francisco in Quito, Ecuador, in which Spanish and Italian styles were blended. In Peru architects preferred heavier and more massive forms. Huge curving forms projected over doors and windows in many buildings of Lima. Columns in Mexico were freely carved with great fantasy; in Peru they were heavy and often spiral. Peruvian wall surfaces were divided into a series of large compartments rather than covered with shallow carving, as were those of Mexico.

The Church of San Agustín (1720), with a statue in the central niche dominating the whole facade, illustrates a distinctive type developed in Lima. In S Peru and in Bolivia native influence in ornamentation, in both technique and representation, pervaded the basic European architectural forms. On the facade of the Church of San Lorenzo (1728–44) in Potosí, richly decorated native figures function as caryatids or spiral columns.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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