September 1998 Meeting of the Pre-Columbian Society

The Society met on Saturday September 12,1998.  Dr. Samuel Y. Edgerton spoke on "Friars and Indians in Sixteenth-Century Mexico -- The 'Art of the Art' of Christian Conversion:
The Augustinian Convento at Malinalco: Adam and Eve in an Aztec Paradise",
a theme represented in his current book, 'Art of Christian Conversion'. Dr.
Edgerton is a much valued contributor and discussant of issues impacting on
our understanding of the contact and early colonial periods of Mesoamerican

Sam Edgerton gave an interesting and insightful talk on the the Augustinian
Convento at Malinalco and the role that the art and spatial orientation of
the convent played in converting the native population.  Especially
interesting was his assertion that space that was previously believed to
have been restricted to the friars may well have been an educational space
in which the stories of creation and of the sanctity of Mary's garden were
demonstrated in the paintings and the architecture of the convent.  He also
showed how the Aztec belief in the regular cycle of good and bad years were
represented within the murals of the convent by the appearance of animals
representing those years.
As always, Sam provided a wealth of information and visual examples in his
slide presentation to support his argument.

Samuel Y. Edgerton is Amos Lawrence Professor of Art History, Williams College,
Williamstown, MA.  He received his PhD. from the University of Pennsylvania
in 1965. He is the author of 'The Renaissance Rediscovery of Linear
Perspective' Ithaca, NY (Cornell U Press), 1975; 'Pictures and Punishment:
Art and Criminal Prosecution during the Florentine Renaissance' NY (Basic
Books & Harper Icon), 1985; 'The Heritage of Giotto's Geometry: Art and
Science on the Eve of the Scientific Revolution', NY (Cornell U Press),
1991. His current work, 'Art of the Art of Christian Conversion', will be
his first book on a Mesoamerican subject.

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