Exhibition | Glitterati: Portraits & Jewelry from Colonial Latin America

Posted in conferences (to attend), exhibitions by Editor on November 9, 2014

From the DAM:

Glitterati: Portraits & Jewelry from Colonial Latin America
Denver Art Museum, 7 December 2014 — 27  November 2016

Young Woman with a Harpsichord (detail), Mexico, 1735–50, oil on canvas (Denver Art Museum, Collection of Frederick and Jan Mayer; 3.2007).

Young Woman with a Harpsichord (detail), Mexico, 1735–50 (Denver Art Museum).

During the Spanish Colonial period in Latin America (1521–1850), precious gold and silver were crafted into elegant jewelry then embellished with emeralds from Colombia, coral from Mexico, and pearls from Venezuela. Wanting to demonstrate their wealth and status, people were painted wearing their finest dress and elaborate jewelry.

Women were adorned with tiaras, necklaces with pendants, and prominent earrings. Men proudly displayed hat ornaments, rings, watch fobs, and chatelaines (decorative belt hooks) with small tools similar to the modern Swiss Army knife. Priests wore gold crucifixes and rosaries while nuns had miniature paintings of the Virgin Mary and saints crafted into brooches, called nun’s badges. Inlaid and lacquered chests and boxes were used to store these luxury goods.

The portraits, furniture, and jewelry that are exhibited in Glitterati, drawn from the DAM’s world-renowned Spanish Colonial collection, tell the fascinating story of people and luxury possessions in the New World.

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From the conference page:

New England / New Spain: Portraiture in the Colonial Americas, 1492–1850
Denver Art Museum, 23–24 January 2015

The 14th Annual Mayer Center Symposium is organized by Dr. Donna Pierce, Mayer Curator of Spanish Colonial Art, Denver Art Museum, and Dr. Emily Ballew Neff, Saxon Director & Chief Curator, Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, University of Oklahoma.

Portraiture was an important art form in the Spanish colony of New Spain (Mexico) and in the British colonies of North America. Today, details in portraits—such as clothing, jewelry, and decorative arts—often reveal clues to the lives of both artists and sitters. At the symposium, scholars from both fields of study will present tandem talks addressing the evolution of portraiture as well as the similarities and differences in the colonial experience of the two regions.


• Michael A. Brown (San Diego Museum of Art | San Diego) — Pieces of Home? How ‘Colonial’ Portraiture Developed in the Spanish and British Americas

• Elizabeth Mankin Kornhauser (The Metropolitan Museum of Art | New York) — The New England Portraits of Ralph Earl: Fashioning a Style for the New Citizens of the Young Republic

• Clare Kunny (Director, Art Muse | Los Angeles) — In His Own Image: A Humanist Portrait of Antonio de Mendoza

• Karl Kusserow (Princeton University Art Museum | Princeton) — Pride of Place: Selfhood and Surroundings in Early American Art

• James Middleton (Independent Scholar | New York) — Reading Dress in New Spanish Portraiture

• Paula Mues Orts (National School of Conservation, Restoration and Museography | Mexico City) — Corporate Portrait in New Spain: Social Bodies, the Individual, and their Spaces of Display

• Susan Rather (University of Texas | Austin) — Copies or Resemblances of Nature: The Limitations of Portrait Painting in Colonial British America

• Michael J. Schreffler (Virginia Commonwealth University | Richmond) — Cortes and Moctezuma: Words, Pictures, and Likeness in Sixteenth-Century New Spain

• Jennifer Van Horn (George Mason University | Fairfax) — Regional Tastes in a Transatlantic Market: Joseph Blackburn in New England and Bermuda

• Kaylin Haverstock Weber (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston | Houston) — Colonial Ambition Abroad: Benjamin West’s Portraits, 1763–1783

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Note (added 1 February 2016) — The catalogue has just been published by the University of Oklahoma Press:

Donna Pierce and Julie Wilson Frick, Companion to Glitterati: Portraits and Jewelry from Colonial Latin America at the Denver Art Museum (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2016), 96 pages, ISBN: 978-0914738756, $15.

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