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Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
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Maya Christian Churches in Early Modern Yucatán

The Ex-Convent of San Juan Bautista, Tixcacaltuyub, Yaxcabá, Yucatán, late sixteenth century

This multidisciplinary project analyzes religious murals painted by Christianized Maya artists in Yucatán, Mexico, between 1550 and 1750. The first study of its kind, we examine the extant corpus of 22 mural cycles to illuminate the processes of intercultural reciprocation, ideological interchange, and economic exchange that defined the “Encounter” between Europe and the Americas. As art historians, we utilize humanistic methodologies in correlation with empirical methods to reconstruct the circulation of the material goods – print culture and painting pigments – necessary for the murals’ production. We center Maya artists in the vast networks of exchange that marked the Counter Reformation, querying how the visual adaptation of pre-Columbian artistic practices impacted the emergence of Maya Catholic identity. Our final products, a scholarly book and a supplementary interactive website, will allow the interested public and scholars access to our research findings.

Amara Solari Professor of Art History and Anthropology Learn More