Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts


Art History

First Advisor

Michael Schreffler


The painting Plaza Mayor de Lima de los Reinos de el Peru, año de 1680, which is held in the collection of the Museo de América in Madrid, presents an idealized image of social interaction in the Plaza Mayor with its depiction of people from a variety of social groups. Little is known surrounding the painting’s commission, and recent scholarship focuses primarily on the colonial architecture within the image. This thesis seeks to shift the scholarly dialogue by examining the depictions of the female figures within the painting. As this thesis will argue, both the portrayal of the female figures in different modes of dress and the location of the figures within the painting document the ways in which distinctions in race and economic class were understood in seventeenth-century Lima. By analyzing the dress and the positioning of the figures, the interactions of Europeans, West Africans, indigenous and mixed raced persons are revealed.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2014