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Latin America perspectives a series of information and comment about Latin America with Dr. C. Harvey Gardner research professor of history at Southern Illinois University. These programs are recorded by station w s r u FM. Here now is Dr. Gardner. The roads to Mexico are many for some. Thanks to the Olympics of one thousand sixty eight the road was by means of television and the viewers who were seeing Mexico for the first time centered attention on muscular achievements and related records. Others who have hurried there by jet to Acapulco have known Mexico only as a land far Lotus Eaters. Still others have met and no other dimensions of our southern neighbor. Those who come close to the heart and soul of Mexico who enjoy continuing awareness of the rich evidences of man on the landscape do so most readily through
buildings. A faithful hand maiden of history architecture is a special expression of culture treating the aesthetic aspects of this theme. Here's a recent volume entitled style in Mexican architecture. The author is Richard Aldrich the publisher of the University of Miami press. Mexico is the holy land of the new world. The outward modern symbol of this role is the crowned patroness a tippy yok hill at the Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe. No other nation has been so honored as has Mexico in this planet of grace. The new basilica is now being planned is only the latest of many dedications in ancient times. And after the Conquest and up until today the activities of religion in Mexico have a fascinating record. Travelers
returning from an hour walk the high valley of central Mexico keep long in their recollection. One particular accomplishment of Mexican piety its rich modes in church architecture to many observers. The religious architecture in Mexico is seen to be the one outstanding travel experience for travelers who have been to other Latin American countries. The opulence of this art in Mexico will likely be a shock. There is no preparation at all for this experience in Cuba or Guatemala except in Antigua in Honduras or El Salvador Peru has many contemporary works but the order of the experience is likely somewhat different than it is in Mexico for in Mexico. The post revolution youthful vigor of 19th 20th
century religious life in Dahl's The remains of the older religious establishments with a special aura of its own. Cultures carry out their possibilities in the making of forms and symbols in the growing phases of material and immaterial way. Art is the making of these things and the making of them. Well Art makes things in all the early stages. The print cultural and the prehistoric states of societies too. But when a human group has started on its growth its not entirely is in the same even early state with all of its elements for its own purposes. It attains a state in culture when traits in one group combine with those of another. These combinations become directional forms in the development and they are for the culture. The limiting form of the
future in most societies. This entire history is set forth by the cult. Its shrine form and the communicating symbols not least those that are involved with the last end of man the myth set forth the creation and the end of the world. And it is only to ourselves that this seems to be two stories the Monday order and the order of the gods. In the study of cultures it is the role of style that has supreme value with style. The forms began the growth that is to make up the matrix of the culture. Style is the essential accomplishment of the culture and the sum of its actuality before it begins. There is something of a unity in the groups the tribes the clans and the
clan divisions and when the culture that will drive toward completion has emerged. There is then something like one Vista for the group. It not only remains one. Each person each movement each pattern each accomplishment each family home form name shrine burial form is drawn deeper and deeper into the social amalgam to be outside of it is eventually scarcely comprehensible. No matter how great the culture burden there would be no place to go except backward. There would be nothing to do except to do nothing. Has one form is set accompanying forms or given direction. The mode that these forms take together comes to be thought of as style. When the culture thus begins its history begins when the forms of the culture have been
completed in their potential. The culture comes to an end. Thenceforth choice is eclectic in culture. There is an amalgamation in civilisation there is a mixture the mixture can be one of unrelated forms and matter the whole is no longer capable of directional form except where it specialisations become rigid enlarged and finally governable in almost any cultural situation. The beginning that can be described is certainly not early. This of course in Mexico refers to the fact that a great deal of the culture of the Indians is in the area of prehistory and defies our having anything like an accurate description of it. To the visitor from the United States many questions occur at once about Mexican churches the immense
scale is a cause for dismay. The church is overwhelmed where visitors from North America are accustomed to the colossal and its fertility they find in these buildings monumental works of conviction in the first consideration. This Spanish monumental assurance has to do with faith. Faith gives substance to hope as a place for worship. Churches of these great and noble proportions would encourage neither doubt nor our fallibility. There are here alien nations to persuade. And all right means have to be used to do it to those who crowd in at the north door. The Grandeur of the proportions they see within is itself miraculous to them. More especially perhaps because they themselves had helped to build it. For corporate worship and
usage that the nations now share with the European newcomer was formerly done mostly in the dance areas before the Mexican pyramid corporate worship. Now comes to take place in what architects are going to call designed space. The fact that almost all the churches of Mexico come to have many of the characteristics of these early Franciscan buildings makes us want to look at the builders themselves. All the religious orders that came to the New World are unique. Jesuits Augustinian Dominicans Franciscans and others are involved in the development of an architecture for the new world of the Franciscans. The power of the architecture that they developed illuminates the training and character of the men and women. They begin to work in the provinces of the holy Evangel the territory east of Mexico City the
province taking its name from the area of their old home in Spain. They spread west and north and south in the first place. There are the Apostolate 12 those holy men who were the first religious group to bring the faith to Mexico. There is a sense it might be said in which Mexicans think and feel in St.. In Neolithic times the great works were undertaken in stone and brick the Iberian invasion enrich the techniques immeasurably. Yet one must train oneself in living in Mexico to surmise that in this matter the old is never replaced. In many regions the evidence is all about stone and materials relating to it are everywhere in constant use in constant reuse. It is a trait. It is an almost unimaginable thing in North
America. One is not in the presence of this trait very long before he becomes aware that stone is also used for color in one haka. The author saw a workman taking a long time judging the appearance of the stone for retaining wall for a large garden choosing reflecting selecting again the workman worked until the right sizes colors and shapes were in place. And then the wall was torn down the next morning and rebuilt to the greater satisfaction of the workman. Here it should be remembered but color in stone is also a strong Mediterranean trait. And here are the two traits are not identical in operation but one ancient and strong in the Mediterranean world and one ancient in the New World flow together contributing eventually to most opulent results. The whole point of the essay by Aldrich is that the arts available
to Mexico in the preacher make regime and in the time after Cortez eventually flowed together to make the art of the vice regal period. After this event. There was a century of plunder and neglect. That brings us to what Mexico supports today. This can be seen at a series of new churches. The value of estimations of them is confined to ecclesiastical structures that form the current architectural statements of cultural tradition. One of the new churches in Mexico City is one that employs large concrete planes much in the manner that the mud bricks were used. The effect of this in the 16th century years but it is not in the same fashion. There are dark and cavities. There is indeed a certain sterility. There is a certain lesser quality about the work from lesser workman and there is an Igbo side of
creativeness that indeed knows no real place in this. The search for the regulating influences that are useful Social Expressions. The volume that is entitled style in Mexican architecture includes seventy seven plates and an end sheet map of pre-Colombian vice regal and monastic sites. The books on usual design incidentally enables the photographs and the text to be separated. If the reader so wishes thanks to perforations on the pages style in Mexican architecture is a publication of the University of Miami press. This was another programme in the series. Latin America perspectives with Dr. S. Harvey Gardner research professor of history at Southern Illinois University joined us for our next program when Dr. Gardner will comment on another interesting aspect of Latin American affairs. These programs are recorded by station
Latin American perspectives II
Episode Number
Episode 34 of 38
Producing Organization
WSIU 8 (Television station : Carbondale, Ill.)
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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For series info, see Item 3544. This prog.: Style in Mexican Architecture
Global Affairs
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Producing Organization: WSIU 8 (Television station : Carbondale, Ill.)
Producing Organization: Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-31-34 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:13:44
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Chicago: “Latin American perspectives II; Episode 34 of 38,” 1969-04-28, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 12, 2022,
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APA: Latin American perspectives II; Episode 34 of 38. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from