This is a groundbreaking exploration of the function and significance of Aztec monumental art and religious spectacles. When the Aztec Empire emerged to dominate central Mexico from 1460 to 1519, vast amounts of tribute wealth flowed into the capital city of Tenochtitlan, enabling artists and architects to create sophisticated works on a monumental scale. Confronted by a civilization without precedent, some Spanish conquistadors and missionaries looked to the classical past for explanations - with parallels being drawn between two great empires, the Aztec and the Roman. While many studies dwell on the Aztec gods and the bloody rituals performed in their honor, this groundbreaking volume examines little-known episodes in which classicism mediated a dialogue both within and between Mesoamerica and Spain, allowing the authors to shed new light on the function of monumental art and religious spectacles.
John Pohl is adjunct professor in the Department of Art History at the University of California, and an expert on ancient Mexico. Claire Lyons is curator in the Department of Antiquities at the j. Paul Getty Museum.