The face of the other: the particular versus the individual

2017-08-01T15:54:27Z (GMT) by Claire Farago
<div><p>Abstract Five interrelated case studies from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries develop the dynamic contrast between portraiture and pictorial genres newly invented in and about Latin America that do not represent their subjects as individuals despite the descriptive focus on the particular. From Jean de Léry’s genre-defining proto-ethnographic text (1578) about the Tupinamba of Brazil to the treatment of the Creole upper class in New Spain as persons whose individuality deserves to be memorialized in contrast to the Mestizaje, African, and Indian underclass objectified as types deserving of scientific study, hierarchical distinctions between portraiture and ethnographic images can be framed in historical terms around the Aristotelian categories of the universal, the individual, and the particular. There are also some intriguing examples that destabilize these inherited distinctions, such as Puerto Rican artist José Campeche’s disturbing and poignant image of a deformed child, Juan Pantaléon Aviles, 1808; and an imaginary portrait of Moctezuma II, c. 1697, based on an ethnographic image, attributed to the leading Mexican painter Antonio Rodriguez. These anomalies serve to focus the study on the hegemonic position accorded to the viewing subject as actually precarious and unstable, always ripe for reinterpretation at the receiving end of European culture.</p></div>