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Imag(in)ing the ancient Greeks in early colonial Mexico: An interactive dialogue between Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican and Western European cultural legacy and artistic tradition

Satyrs have intruded into the Aztec courtyard. Centaurs find themselves in combat with jaguar and coyote warriors during the Chichimec Wars. Mexico, 16th century. Visions of an ambiguous present; images narrating the history of a twisted past; artists mediating while bridging the cultural gap between two contemporary ‘Others’; a chromatic palette -the shades of which, reflect diverse expressions of artistic experimentation and shape a visual entrance into an unknown world.

Blending the survival of a long indigenous tradition with the entailments of a newly-acquired social and artistically embellished experience, Dr Elizabeth Baquedano (UCL) and Dimitrios Roussos (UCL) present a topic which untangles geographic and period boundaries and heads towards the portrayal of multiple realities in the aftermath of the ‘Conquest of Mexico’ through the prism of visual culture; realities where the ‘old’ merges with the ‘new’, at a time when Aztec gods and rulers stand vis-a-vis ancient Greek gods and heroes and declare them as their cultural contestants.

Brief Bios:

Elizabeth Baquedano obtained her PhD from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, where she is now a senior lecturer and Postgraduate Coordinator of Aztec Archaeology and Ethnohistory. A specialist in Aztec Art and Archaeology, and recently, the symbolism of gold. She published her latest book, Tezcatlipoca: Trickster and Supreme Deity in 2014 (University Press of Colorado), the same year she received the Mexican government’s prestigious Ohtli Award for Mexicans who have contributed significantly to enhancing Mexico abroad, particularly the art of archaeology of ancient Mexico. She is a frequent Lecturer at the British Museum and has been a TV Presenter for several programs on Ancient Mexican Archaeology.

Dimitrios Roussos holds a BA in Archaeology and History of Art from the Department of History and Archaeology, University of Crete. Being awarded with an Onassis Foundation scholarship for Hellenes (2017/18) and a University College London, Institute of Archaeology Masters Award, where he has recently completed his MA in Comparative Art and Archaeology. He has participated in fieldwork research in the Paleolithic caves of Southern France (Lascaux, Chauvet, Rouffignac, etc.), as well as in major cultural, historical and archaeological sites across the Valley of Mexico. During the academic year 2015-16, he was working as a research assistant in the Art History section of the Institute for Mediterranean Studies – Foundation of Research & Technology Hellas (IMS-FORTH). His current research focuses on the institutional background of early colonial artists and the interactive dialogue between European Renaissance and indigenous Mexican art and culture in the aftermath of the “Conquest of Mexico”.