DIMENSIONS: 5.5 cm x 8 cm
NOTES: Rare.
ITEM ID: 4800

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Mexican Colonial Copper Plate

Year: 1880
Decade: 1880s
Century: 19th (1801-1900)

This art form was quite rare. In Mexico during the XVI and XVII Century, the preferred engraving technique was the woodcut. It was cheaper and required less instruction to the artists. Intaglio was more expensive and required more technical formation, which in Mexico didn’t exist until 1782 when the Academy of San Carlos was founded.

Any type of original plates used for engraving are ridiculously rare. The engraving was probably produced to illustrate a popular leaflet – the practice of the popular prints started in the XVII century in Mexico. The printers found out that printing low-cost leaflets about religious or political issues was good business. For that, they hired Mexican artists that had no formal training and usually had learned the craft from their father and grandfather, learning by themselves about the new techniques and improvising.

The engraving art created in the Spanish overseas colonies represented an amazing artistic achievement, that is fairly paradoxical. On the one hand, Spanish colonial art was forged in the most remote territories of the Spanish empire, being produced by nearly analphabet artists who never set foot in Europe. On the other hand, colonial art, while still being sui generis, reveals an undeniable domain of the European technique.