Susan Verdi Webster, Jane Williams Mahoney Professor of Art History and American Studies, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA
This talk is about vision, visibility and cultural optics; it posits that the way buildings are perceived within a historical context depends upon who is doing the looking. As a case study, this talk focuses on the people and processes – both Andean and European – involved in architectural production in colonial Quito (Ecuador). In order to chart the largely unseen construction history of monumental buildings in the colonial city, Webster’s approach combines historiography with extensive evidence from colonial archives and chronicles. Systematic analyses and close readings of these sources substantially revise modern accounts of the authorship, chronology, interpretation, reception and diffusion of Quito’s monumental colonial buildings, and suggest new avenues of approach for understanding architectural production within colonial contexts.
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