Castas paintings

A link to a discussion and images of castas paintings.

And an article by Illona Katzew, “Casta Painting:  Identity and Social Stratification in Colonial Mexico.”

9 thoughts on “Castas paintings

  1. brent steffey

    This is a really neat painting and I believe the use of colors make it so interesting. I like how the artist used different outfits to characterize his figures. I assume that the numbers on the work itself, represent the figures in different cultures? I see “1” and “3” but cannot spot the “2”. Very nice work.

  2. Virginia

    I love the bright colors used in this painting. It’s very different from the other works we have been looking at this semester, and the almost cartoonish representation of people is different and appealing. It speaks a lot to the hardships of native peoples when the whites arrived, and as we can see a native person is being ordered around by a white while a nurse of the white mans child stands by and overlooks in displeasure.
    I think this painting is a very good representation of the time period and how the native peoples in Mexico felt when the whites began coming in.

    1. maoch Post author

      Good points. These works also speak to the attitudes of Spanish colonizers and their desire to identify who was who and where individuals belonged in society.

  3. Margaret Baxter

    I think that these castas paintings are really interesting. I like the bold and vibrant colors. Each of these genre scenes are so unique to the two cultures that they represent. I have never seen a painting thats purpose is to reflect two distinct cultures. The bold brushstrokes and simple, crispy contour lines remind me of “Peasant Wedding” by Pieter Bruegel the Elder.

  4. Lauren Boyle

    Prior to the article I was not a fan of this painting. The proportions of the people and the other objects in the painting bothered me. The colors to me all seem very bold, the painting is to busy and did not do anything for me. After reading the article and reanalyzing the painting I found it very interesting. While my generation and I cannot view the painting and understand it is commenting on the delicate socioeconomic status and the tense social hierarchy defined by race for colonial subjects under the Spanish Crown that Mexico was ruled by centuries ago. This is shown but the iconographic clothing of the people presented in the painting, the positioning of these characters showing their relation to one another, and the race of each of the characters. After reading through the article and understanding it’s significant function for the spanish people during the 18th century I have a new respect and understanding for the paintings style and the importance it had in society.

  5. Chantel McKinley

    The Castas paintings are beautiful and different from the artwork we have studying. They depicting of the mixed ethnics is interesting and does explain why the Spainards have a negative tone against the mixed ethnics and the worries over them taking over society. I felt by the articles and the depication of the Castas paintings that the Spainards are more for a society that is pure blood in an ethnicity then in a mixed one. I felt that they are pointing out more of the negative aspects of these people than the postive because this makes them feel more inferior and look better than the mixed ethnicity. This is normal for how society looked at other groups in the 18th century.

  6. Sarah Jones

    This painting was very interesting and different from the other types of paintings we have seen this semester. I like how this genre scene depicts the mixing of races. Also I enjoyed how the artist showed great detail when painting the attire of the people. The colors are very bold and represent the wealth of the man on the right. The artist definitely portrayed the differences between the two classes and who was the one with more authority.

  7. Robbie O'Donnell

    It is very rare that you hear much about Mexican or Latin American artists or culture in todays society, which is sad because it is so rich. Just that fact that there are so many ethnicities and cultures worked into such a small area. This allows for a beautiful blending of cultures which is heavily prevalent in the artwork of the area. Even paintings about everyday life are usually rich and vibrant and give great insight into what life is life for these various ethnicities. Great article and great artwork.


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