Highest Heaven

A new exhibition at the Chrysler museum in Norfolk.

When Spanish and Portuguese explorers began their conquest of South America, they clashed with ancient civilizations of the New World. But a new exhibition at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk defies the common belief that colonization led to the extinction of creative energy among indigenous societies.

Highest Heaven: Spanish and Portuguese Colonial Art from the Collection of Roberta and Richard Huber features more than 100 works produced in the major cities of Cuzco and Lima in modern-day Peru and the silver-mining center of Potosí in Bolivia, including carved and gilded sculptures, paintings of archangels, silverwork and ivory sculptures of saints and the Virgin Mary.

“The iconography is exciting and beautiful,” says the museum’s chief curator Lloyd DeWitt. Some of the works were intended for everyday use; others were created to spur religious faith among 18th century colonial populations. The exhibit, which is organized by the San Antonio Museum of Art, will be open until June 3. Chrysler.org

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