Birdman of Assisi
Birdman of Assisi: Art and the Apocalyptic in the Colonial Andes explores the reception of Saint Francis of Assisi and angels in the colonized Inca Empire. It examines images and beliefs related to birdmen among the Incas and other peoples of the Andes and how these were transformed in the colonial era by Christian missionaries. The author brings to light previously unknown images of Saint Francis with wings, flying through the air as a militant angel of the Apocalypse battling archfiends, rival religious orders, secular clergy, and even bishops. A key player in this transformation of the "little poor man" was the medieval prophet Joachim of Fiore and the influence that his eschatological prophecies had on the spiritual sons of Francis, especially in the new world. Although commissioned by the Francsican friars, the Andean paintings and sculptures were executed by native artists with native sensibilities that critique colonial society and reveal an approaching end of the world and a controversial, even violent, role for Francis of Assisi at a final cosmic battle. In colonial Mexico the author discovers a similar situation but with different artistic solutions. Birdman of Assisi documents how a beloved medieval saint gained a new following among Incas and other native peoples of the Americas and how he continues to resonate with the diverse Andean population, both Quechua and Spanish speaking, to this day.
Birdman of Assisi is copublished by Bilingual Press and Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.
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