The Cartographies of a Candy-Striped Suit
A singular suit of colonial clothing, once worn by a very wealthy man who lived, and then died, in New Mexico around 1720. As a resident of Santa Fe, the suit's owner may have attended mass with local Puebloans and may have heard Nahuatl, the Indigenous language of central Mexico, spoken by the descendants of Tlaxcalan warriors and settlers, dispatched to the north in the early years of Spain’s “conquest” of New Mexico.
A coat, a waistcoat and breeches made of British wool and Chinese-manufactured striped damask silk, littered with small flowers; buttons wrapped in thin gold wires and once inset with precious stones—all quite fashionable in its day. For us, as art historians today, this blue-and-white candy-striped suit seems to map the Iberian colonial world. But in what ways is this true? What are the cartographies and affective imaginaries of an outfit such as this?
To answer these questions, we juxtapose the suit with maps in the Newberry Library that open yet other ways of understanding Santa Fe and its relationships to the world. At issue in this seminar, then, are the both limits and possibilities— of both cloth and maps—for drawing us, in the present, into other worlds.
About the European Art Seminar
The Center for Renaissance Studies European Art Seminar considers work in art history that explores painting, sculpture, graphic art, architecture, caricature, manuscript illumination, book arts, and material culture.
The coordinators for the Seminar in European Art are Suzanne Karr Schmidt (Newberry Library), Lia Markey (Newberry Library), Sheryl Reiss (Newberry Library) and Walter Melion (Emory University).
The European Art Seminar is sponsored by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.