- About the Exhibit
- Empires and Revolutions: 1613–1825
- Trade with Spanish America: 1825-1900
- Cultural Encounters: 1825-1900
- Political Encounters: 1850-1930
- An Hispano Landscape: 1900–45
New Yorkers Experience South America through Art
Few North Americans stimulated more curiosity about South America than did New York artist Frederic Edwin Church. Church traveled twice to present-day Ecuador and Colombia in the 1850s to explore the equatorial region and capture its magnificence in paint. Upon returning to his Manhattan studio he produced Cayambe (1858). Next Church painted Heart of the Andes (1859), a mammoth work that went on public display in New York and then around the nation.
Church’s paintings spurred the imaginations of North Americans. His vast and beautiful Andean scenes inspired spiritual contemplation. His flora and fauna captivated followers of 19th-century science who believed that here was a microcosm of all the world’s creations. His landscapes, largely emptied of human settlement, enthused others with dreams of virgin land ripe for development. To North Americans eager for an introduction to South America and convinced that progress followed in their wake, it was an exhilarating and inviting mix.