Culture in Peru

Discover the fascinating culture of Peru

Before the arrival of the Spanish, Peru was a major center of art in the Americas. Pre-Inca cultures were already well established in terms of pottery, textiles, jewelry and sculpture. They also employed weaving to create baskets and storage containers. Over the years, the Incas not only maintained these various crafts, but improved on them and their architectural achievements became quite impressive. One of the most notable surviving examples of their architecture can be found at Machu Picchu.

After colonization by the Spanish, native Peruvians managed to maintain these traditional crafts to a degree. However their culture was greatly influenced by the Spanish. Shortly after colonization, Spanish baroque was combined with Inca tradition. This resulted in what is now known as creole art. A large number of Indian artists were trained in the Spanish baroque tradition and were influenced by Italian, French and Flemish schools of thought. Many of local artists went through life unrecognized but a few gained recognition such as Francisco Fierro who portrayed Peruvian customs, cultures and celebrations in his artwork. Fracisco Lazo also achieved some fame for his excellent portrait paintings. After gaining independence from Spain, Peruvian art experienced a period of European romanticism.

After 1932, the 'indigenous school of painting' dominated Peruvian culture for nearly a decade. 1943 saw the several Peruvian painters return from Europe. These greatly influenced existing painting styles in the country. The 1960's saw the start of a strong abstract painting following in the country which eventually changed into modernism. The early 20th century saw the emergence of "indegenismo" - a greater awareness of the Indian culture which was expressed through art. The period was characterized by variety and originality. In the last 60 years Peruvian artists, writers and intellectuals have continued to draw on the trends followed in places such as Europe and the United States. A lot of art in the form of painting and sculpture are still produced in Peru - more so than perhaps anywhere else in South America. There is also a continuing trend to expand and further develop the natural talent shown by youngsters in the country and it is likely that several more brilliant artists will emerge from Peru.


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