Una imitación antigua (An Ancient Imitation)
- Luis Montero, 1826 - 1869
- Born: Piura, Peru
Luis Montero, Una imitación antigua (An Ancient Imitation), 1868. Oil paint on canvas; 53⅝ × 32⅞ in. Gift of Drs. Sydney G. & Virginia M. Salus, 1979.179.
Born in Piura, Luis Montero is considered one of the most important Peruvian nineteenth-century academic artists. He began his artistic training at the Academia de Dibujo y Pintura de Lima (Academy of Drawing and Painting of Lima) under the painter Ignacio Merino (1817–1876). In 1847 Montero won a government scholarship to study in Italy where for three years he attended the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze (Academy of Fine Arts of Florence), one the most prestigious art schools in Europe. In 1850 he returned to Lima, replaced Merino as director of the Academia de Dibujo y Pintura, and exhibited to great acclaim some of the works he produced in Italy. From 1852 until his death in 1869, Montero’s career developed between Peru and Cuba, where he married and taught at the Liceo de Artístico de La Habana (Artistic Lyceum of Havana), as well as Spain and Italy. In 1868 he gifted his masterpiece Los funerales de Atahualpa (The Funerals of Inca Atahualpa, 1867) to the Congress of Peru. Montero died of yellow fever in 1869 while planning a return trip to Europe.
Montero excelled in portraiture and historic genre painting. This depiction of a woman in a neoclassical setting embodies Montero’s academic visual vocabulary and interest in history and the ancient world. He captured the introverted nature of his subject while illuminating through precise brushwork the rich quality of her material world—her draped white peplos tunic, colored shawl and pearl jewelry paired with the richly carved throne, footstool and table, topped with a vase and decorative chests. In stark contrast, the background is loosely painted suggesting an interior space.
– Jorge Rivas, Frederick and Jan Mayer Curator of Latin American Art, 2016