Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version



Timm, N. 2019. Artistic Syncretism in Latin America: From Olmec to Spanish Colonialism. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Nicole Timm 2019.


The purpose of this paper is to provide a historic and systematic review of colonial Latin American art. The first half will focus on the ancient arts created by the ancient civilizations that sculpted culture in Latin America centuries before the Spanish were aware another continent existed. The latter portion of the paper will look to the post-colonial period. It will begin by delving into the influence of European artistic styles blending with Latin American culture and style of painting and vice versa. The final goal of this paper is to uncover the syncretism that took place across Latin America with the introduction of a new faith as well as the ancient syncretism between the indigenous cultures. Much of the research that has been done on syncretism focuses heavily on the religious aspect, but this paper will combine religion with art. In the paintings that occurred decades after the Spanish conquest, artists became more comfortable in depicting the incorporation of the Catholic faith into the native beliefs the indigenous population held prior to the invasion in order to create a new practice that is the combination of two separate belief systems.