Isabel Oleas-Mogollón will deliver a Brown Bag Lunch presentation on Thursday, January 27, at 12:15 pm. Her talk is entitled “Esplendor y Lucimiento: Mirrors and Triumphal Language in Eighteenth-Century Quito.”

Between September 21 and October 1 of 1789, the city of Quito celebrated the proclamation of King Carlos IV of Spain with parades, jousts, balls, masquerades, dances, and plays. Large quantities of brilliant, expensive objects, especially mirrors and silver plates, adorned triumphal arches and other ephemeral structures built along the city streets. At first glance, the event’s pomp and visual appeal showcased the power and majesty of the Spanish king and his dominion over the region. However, a closer analysis of the political and social conditions of Quito in the second half of the eighteenth century suggests that the triumphal visual language, embodied in the shimmering and reflective ornamentation of the festivities, was directed at creating an illusion of stability and order. Indeed, the excessive display of brilliant objects and reflective surfaces highlights the political anxieties behind this impressive setting and the lingering doubts about the allegiance of Quito towards Spain. Reflective surfaces were thus used to amplify the impact of brilliant materials and foster the population’s subservience towards an unstable colonial government.

Isabel Oleas-Mogollón is a research fellow at Bard Graduate Center this spring. She is an independent scholar of the history of Spanish American art and visual and material culture with an emphasis in the Audiencia of Quito. Her scholarly work focuses on post-colonial theory, religious patronage, and gender and has been published in Religion and the Arts, Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture, and Hemisphere: Visual Cultures of the Americas. She is currently working on her first book project, Imperial Power and Christian Triumph, which examines the agency of reflective surfaces and their function in shaping imperial discourses, supporting institutional agendas, and in structuring private and public religious expressions. Besides providing an overview of eighteenth-century Andean religious visual culture and its reliance on reflective surfaces, the book argues that reflective surfaces enhanced the devotees’ emotional connection with Christian images and prompted curated forms of spiritual development and social interaction.

This event will be held via Zoom. A link will be circulated to registrants by 10 am on the day of the event. This event will be live with automatic captions.