Johann Moritz Rugendas (1802-1858)
... era la plaza el centro intelectual de Lima, alrededor del cual estaban localizados los colegios de San Idelfonso, San Pedro Nolasco, Santo Tomas, San Pablo y el Colegio Real. En el perímetro de la plaza quedaban los edificios de la Real Universidad, el Hospital de la Caridad con su iglesia, y la casa de la Inquisición con su capilla; es decir, el conjunto mas numeroso de edificios virreinales reunidos en un mismo ambiente urbano. Destruida esta plaza, simultáneamente aristocrática y popular, la ciudad de los Reyes no ha podido recuperar ninguna otra plaza que cuente con la belleza plástica de las fachadas y portadas de aquel viejo mercado que tan profundamente impresionó a los románticos del siglo XIXAntonio San Cristóbal
Johann Moritz Rugendas (1802-1858)

The Independencia market, Lima

Details
Johann Moritz Rugendas (1802-1858)
The Independencia market, Lima
signed and dated ‘Mazo. Rugendas / Lima. 1843.’ (lower right), titled 'Plaza de la Inquisicion, Lima' on the frame
oil on canvas
26 5/8 x 36 ¼in. (67.7 x 92.1cm.)
Provenance
Presented by Jack M. Barnett, of 41 Store St, London W.C.1. to
The Wellcome Historical Medical Museum, London, May 1936; sale
Sotheby’s London, 14 May 1970, lot 112 (£1,700 to Agnew).
with Thos. Agnew & Sons (no.32542).
Corporate collection, London, since 1970.
Literature
P. Diener, Rugendas, Augsburg, 1997, P-O-17 (El Mercado de la Independencia en Lima), p.349, illustrated in colour p.54.

Brought to you by

Helena Ingham
Helena Ingham

Lot Essay

For studies for the present subject see Diener, PB-D-114 and -115. For another view of the market in the same square, with some of the figures repeated, see Rugendas's Plaza de la Merced, 1843, not in Diener but sourced online at http://www4.congreso.gob.pe/historico/restosarqueologicos/locales/bolivar/plazabolivar.htm

Rugendas's subject is the market on the Plaza de la Inquisición, Lima (now Plaza Bolívar), and a scene so busy as to allow the artist to provide an almost exhaustive panorama of the types and costumes of Lima and the culture and history of Pizarro's City of Kings. Beyond the crowded market scene rises the church of Santa María de la Caridad, and across to its right, on the corner, the birthplace and childhood home of the Peruvian writer Manuel Ricardo Palma Soriano (1833-1919), with its green balcony, the Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition to the right, for which the square was once named. The Spanish Inquisition in Lima, the capital of the Spanish empire in Latin America, ran from 1570 to 1820, the threat of the auto da fé helping to uphold colonial order. There had been a market here since colonial times, the irregularly shaped Plaza with a fountain and stone cross at its centre. Following independence, an equestrian statue of Simón Bolívar was commissioned in 1825, but not erected until 1859, the Plaza subsequently being renamed Plaza Bolívar, as it is today, for the Liberator. In the centre of the picture Rugendas depicts a street vendor hawking silk scarves bearing the image of Bolivar.

From left to right, in the left foreground two Indian women are selling melons, a seasonal local fruit which might date Rugendas's subject, as Archibald Smith reported in his account of his residence in Lima published in 1839: ' … we may notice that the melon and sandia, or musk and water-melon, are much cultivated in the neighbourhood of Lima; and are seen in large heaps by the bridge, and at the corners of streets, where they are bought up, and consumed with avidity, in the hot month of February.‘’ (A. Smith, op. cit., p. 44). The Indian women wear stiff plaited straw hats, wide brimmed and with high crowns, and decorated with Indian designs. Beyond them a herd of llamas is being driven across the plaza, to the alarm of the leading two horses of an equestrian party of elegant limeñas and their escorts. Below this party, the lower class of women of Lima in saya de manto (overskirt and veil), their traditional street dress. Before them a young African girl, probably a slave or freed slave, carries a basket and presumably shops at the market for her master (perhaps the large figure of a monk in the foreground) as an Indian fishwife cuts steaks from a tuna. To the left of the monk a European man holding a portfolio, presumably the artist with his sketches. In the centre foreground three more limeñas in saya de manto, flirt with an officer, who, with the two soldiers in the background, are probably from the viceregal guard. An African woman carries fish and fruit in a basket on her head, a Muslim woman peers at the limeñas, and to the right of an African family with their white mule, more Indian market traders, a cleric and other Europeans shop and parade through the huddle of vendors. This Peruvian frieze allows Rugendas to describe the diversity of races and classes in Lima, the indigenous Indians, the péons, mulattos, Mestizos (of mixed Spanish and Indian descent) and creoles, the zambos (from mixed Indian and African parentage), Afro-Peruvians, African slaves (slavery was abolished in Peru in 1854), as well as the various classes within the European contingent, from the high and mighty viceregal administrators (who would be no more than visiting Spaniards), to the top-hatted western professionals and Peruvian-born colonial subjects.


;

More from Topographical Pictures

View All
View All