The dominion of the few over the many in Spanish America was first established by force in the wars of conquest. After, this hierarchy needed constant maintenance and policing. The ruling classes enlisted visual culture in their ongoing struggle to maintain political power, using visual imagery, architecture, public performances, and civic spaces to this end. For instance, in Cuzco, the Dominicans made clear the preeminence of their Church by imposing it directly on top of the most sacred Inka building, the Korikancha. In looking at the ways political leadership, both European and indigenous, made itself known though visual culture, this unit highlights struggles for power across the colonial period.

Korikancha and Santo Domingo, 15th-16th centuries, Cuzco

Copyright 2003, Dana Leibsohn and Barbara Mundy
Please credit as: Leibsohn, Dana, and Barbara Mundy, Vistas: Visual Culture in Spanish America, 1520-1820., 2003.