The date: 16 September 2016. The place: Peru, where, in the church of San Sebastián in a suburb of Cuzco, one electrical wire touches another. When the fire is finally extinguished around midday, some eighty per cent of the church interior has been reduced to cinders. In just a few hours, a huge part of the oeuvre of Quispe Tito (c.1611-1681) perished.
This edition of Phoebus Focus turns the spotlight on Quispe Tito’s Holy Family in Nazareth and the motley mix of connections between a painting produced in a brand-new world and a print made in a much older one. Holy Family bridges Jesuit thought and Inca heritage. It tells a tale of artistic and cultural legacies and idiosyncratic interpretations.