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NDENCA Seminar | Mexico City (1825), Rio de Janeiro (1827), Lima (1836): The Erasure of Indigenous Presence in Robert Burford’s Panoramas of Latin America

March 21 @ 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Carla Hermann, Rio de Janeiro Cultural Heritage Institute

Carla Hermann is a researcher at Rio de Janeiro Cultural Heritage Institute in Brazil. In her PhD dissertation (2016), she studied the only panorama of Rio de Janeiro exhibited in London in the first half of the Nineteenth century, and emerged into the panorama phenomenon as a whole. Other degrees: Master in Arts (2010), B.A in Geography (2000). Main research interests: Nineteenth-Century, Modern art, Latin America Art and landscape

Mexico City (1825), Rio de Janeiro (1827), Lima (1836): The Erasure of Indigenous Presence in Robert Burford’s Panoramas of Latin America

The panoramas were the most popular form of entertainment in the Nineteenth-Century and had the purpose of placing spectators inside depicted landscapes. By doing so, they were virtually able to transport people to faraway places, giving them the lively feeling of experiencing distant countries and knowing the wonders of the world. Within the rotunda, a platform emulated the sensation of unveiling the horizon. Pictorial effects meant to cause vertigo and reproduce a world of unknown places and events. The proposal compares the engravings of three panoramas of Latin American cities exhibited in London: Mexico City (1825), Rio de Janeiro (1827) and the Peruvian capital of Lima (1836). The images of the Hispanic colonized cities bring the spectator to the top of their cathedrals, located in their city centers. The Brazilian panorama places the spectator in the middle of the Bay of Guanabara, facing the colonial city of Rio de Janeiro surrounded by Britain´s Royal Navy ships. Besides being different compositions – Mexico and Lima show a lot of firm land while Rio is a seascape, we realize they all relate to nineteenth-century British informal imperialism. The artist responsible for them – panorama painter and rotunda owner Robert Burford – was committed to building the image of enigmatic cities ready to be discovered. I examine the relationship between art, texts, and power, since panoramas used not only painting and architectural effects, but also written texts to construct powerful narratives through the depicted image. For that, I believe that the indigenous presence in these panoramas is central to understanding them. They are not depicted in any of the images but are heavily mentioned in some of the texts. With a deeper eye I explain what motivated Burford’s to show these vistas in a time span of fifteen years and what the mention or not of their indigenous past has to do with it. The presence of the Aztec is mentioned in the texts that accompanied the key to the Mexican panorama, the Mayans are quoted in the Peruvian texts, but nothing is said about the Tupinambás that inhabited the Brazilian coast shore in the 1827 painting and text. Also, why are they not painted at all? Painting Mexicas, Tamoyos or Mayans would make them real and humane. Erasing their presence meant placing them in the past. Regarding the texts, I believe that when opting letting the indigenous out of Rio de Janeiro, but highlighting the Aztec past in Mexico and Lima, Burford was responding to the trend of mining speculators in London and their expectations of finding precious metals in Latin America. The association between the Mayan and Aztec culturally rich materiality worked in Burford´s favor to promote the promise of finding gold in America central and south parts. To explain all this I will present images and texts of the panoramas themselves, and through 1 Carla Hermann is a researcher at Rio de Janeiro Cultural Heritage Institute in Brazil. In her PhD dissertation (2016), she studied the only panorama of Rio de Janeiro exhibited in London in the first half of the Nineteenth century, and emerged into the panorama phenomenon as a whole. Other degrees: Master in Arts (2010), B.A in Geography (2000). Main research interests: Nineteenth-Century, Modern art, Latin America Art and landscape. decolonial approach, I will bring other visual culture registers of the time. I aim to deconstruct the imagery that the British informal influence built of Latin American cities and work towards an indigenization of such panoramas.

Details

Date:
March 21
Time:
12:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Event Category:
Website:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ndenca-5-tickets-243551548237

Organizer

New Directions in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Art
Email:
https://ndenca.wordpress.com/contact/ndencaseminar@gmail.com
Website:
https://ndenca.wordpress.com/