The Cuscaña Public School

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The Cuscaña Public School


The Cuzqueña school is a pictorial school that arises during the colonial period in Cuzco, Peru. His works combine the color of flamenco style, the grace of mannerism and the use of the Renaissance perspective, mixed with the tradition and Inca Symbology and Pre -Inca. The Corpus Christi series is another essential of this school. Made by one of the followers of Basilio Santa Cruz for the parish of Santa Ana de Cuzco. Today you can contemplate at the Museum of Religious Art of the archbishopric of that city, although three of the paintings are in Chile.

What is the Cuzqueña school

The so -called Cuzqueña school is a set of painters of indigenous origin who perform a type of painting, especially religious, which combines the Inca and Preincaic tradition with the Christian European. And all, following the models of the paintings of the Italian monk Bernardo Bitti and the painter Luis de Riaño, born in Lima but of Spanish parents.

It takes place in the city of Cuzco, hence the name that this group of artists acquire and has as main representatives the indigenous Diego Quispe Tito and Basilio de Santa Cruz Pumacallao, whose representations transcend the borders of the Viceroyalty of Peru of Peru.

The paintings stand out for the great contrast between the areas of Penumbra and the red, intense green and roses of plants, flowers and native birds that intermingle with scenes from the European -style Bible that come from prints and engravings arrived by sea.

The main works in Cuzco

There are many works that this school produced and its art has transcended all over the world. Among them, the works of Diego Quispe Tito stand out as the vision of the cross or the series of San Juan Bautista or San Sebastián. These last partially lost in the fire suffered by the Church of San Sebastián de Cuzco in 2016.

Or, by the same author, the Zodiac series of the Cuzco Cathedral. Painted in 1681, on each canvas he represented an astral house linked to a gospel scene. In the National Museum of History of Cuzco you can also contemplate the return of Egypt, painted in 1680 for which it was inspired by an engraving that showed the composition of Pedro Pablo Rubens. The Virgin of Bethlehem is another of the paintings of one of the components of the Cusco school. Specifically, from Basilio de Santa Cruz Pumacallao. And whose main influence is in Murillo. This is one of the paintings that adorn Cuzco’s cathedral.

And one of the most unique paintings because it represents the journey that the Virgin lives from her departure from Spain until her arrival in Cuzco. With an idyllic atmosphere, more concrete are the characters that appear. Members of the city population that were reflected in the composition being part of the historical event. Carried out around the year 1680 represents the Cuzqueña society fully incorporated into Christianity. This series is one of the most appreciated for its historical and ethnographic value, in addition to artistic, because it shows various social strata of Cuzco Colonial.

The works of the Cuzqueña school outside Cuzco

Of Quispe Tito or his circle of followers and disciples, highlights the picture of the Virgen del Carmen. Which can be found in the Brooklyn Museum. Like the spectacular picture of the Virgen de Pomata or the portrait of Atahualpa, both by unknown author. We must highlight the canvas that represents the marriages of Martín de Loyola with Beatriz Ñusta and Juan de Borja with Lorenza Ñusta de Loyola. 

Well, it is one of the most spectacular paintings of the Cuzqueña school. From him, there are several copies highlighting what the Pedro de Osma Museum in Lima custodes. A picture with obvious propaganda intention with which it is intended to transform a history of violent conquest into a marriage between both peoples. Thus, two marriage unions that occurred in different spaces and times are represented as a sample of cultural miscegenation that occurred in the viceroynate.


Precisely in this Lima Museum we can find some of the best examples of the Cuzqueña school such as the paintings that represent the genealogy of the Incas in which some of the Incas kings are portrayed. As well as Marian representations and several examples of pictures of angels and arcabuceros that were so fashionable in the 18th century.

The canvases of the life of San Agustín are other of the best paintings of this school. Painted for the cloister of the convent of San Agustín in Lima by Basilio Pacheco.  It is a commission for the capital of the viceroynate, which shows the importance that this school had acquired. In them, the painter self-portraits and represents the cathedral of Cuzco as the scenes of the scenes.

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