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🔵  Here’s a little BLUESDAY inspiration from our Arts of the Americas collection, currently on view in Infinite Blue.

The blue background of these twelve portraits of Inca kings could have been produced with a variety of pigments that were available in the Viceroyalty of Peru in the eighteenth century: Prussian blue, from Germany; indigo, from the Americas; and smalt, imported from Europe.

In the Viceroyalty of Peru, the choice of a blue background for these portraits was strategic, elevating the subjects as blue did in European paintings of rulers and nobles. Following the European tradition, Cuzco’s surviving Inca aristocracy likely commissioned these portraits to document their royal heritage and thus legitimize their political and social authority.

Unknown. 14 Portraits of Inca Kings, mid-18th century (probably). Oil on canvas Brooklyn Museum