Santa Fe, NM
Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, through May 27
This story was featured in the March 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art March 2013 print issue, or get the Southwest Art March 2013 digital download now…Or better yet, just subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
The extravagance and elegance of Spanish colonial dress in the Americas is currently on display at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art in Santa Fe. Filigree and Finery: The Art of Spanish Elegance runs through May 27 and features approximately 80 historical artifacts of Spanish colonial ornamentation from the museum’s collection—many of which have never been seen before by the public. Filigree jewelry by contemporary New Mexico silversmiths is also featured in the museum store. “The main impetus for this exhibition was to illustrate the high quality of the crafts produced in both Mexico and New Mexico from the colonial period right on up to the present,” says curator Robin Farwell Gavin.
The exhibit highlights six different types of finery: rebozos (women’s garments, usually worn as scarfs or shawls), mantónes de Manila (silk shawls), mantillas (lace or silk veils or shawls worn over the head and shoulders, often over a high comb), peinetas (flamenco hair combs), fans, and filigree jewelry. “All six are things that were worn here in New Mexico during the colonial period,” Gavin explains. “Many people have misconceptions—often derogatory—about what life here was like back then. But despite perceptions of a simple and casual existence in New Mexico, the Spanish colonists brought their material culture with them,” she says. Indeed, many historians have described how the Spanish colonists “wore their wealth,” bedecking themselves in luxurious garments and jewelry that rivaled those of Europe.
Since the 1600s, Spanish colonial arts and crafts have been an important part of village life in New Mexico. In 1925, the Spanish Colonial Arts Society was founded in Santa Fe to encourage and promote Spanish colonial arts and crafts and educate the public about traditional art forms. The Society opened the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art in 2002, and today there are more than 3,700 pieces in the museum’s collection. “As a volunteer I get to see everything we keep in storage,” says Reine Moure. “It’s nice to finally be able to put out pieces from our collection that people have never seen before.” —Lindsay Mitchell
Featured in the March 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
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Southwest Art March 2013 print issue
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