Turnus Provoked into War by Aeneas

José Manuel de la Cerda Mexico

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 600

This exceptional lacquerware tray (batea) is the work of José Manuel de la Cerda, an Indigenous artist active in Pátzcuaro (Michoacán) in west-central Mexico during the mid-18th century. De la Cerda’s highly inventive lacquerware exemplifies the ways in which local artistic traditions in New Spain were profoundly transformed by the presence of imported art objects from both Europe and Asia. Using a pre-Hispanic lacquer technique, De la Cerda’s batea features a rarely depicted episode from Virgil’s Aeneid in combination with ornamentation inspired by East Asian lacquerware as well as European chinoiserie. The batea provides visual evidence of the cultural consequences of Mexico’s unusual status as a nexus of both transpacific and transatlantic trade.

Turnus Provoked into War by Aeneas, José Manuel de la Cerda (Mexico, active 18th century), Wood, painted lacquer, gold, Mexican

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