The Institut für Kunst- und Bildgeschichte is very pleased to welcome the first Census x Hertziana Fellow, Juan Carlos Mantilla, who has begun a 6‑month research project titled, ‘The Early Modern Invention of the Ancient Andes’. During his fellowship, Mantilla will participate in both the Census in Berlin and the ‘Italy in a Global Context’ program under the direction of Prof. Dr. Tristan Weddigen at the Bibliotheca Hertziana in Rome.
Mantilla is a Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University in the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures, the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, and the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program. He specializes in the comparative art historical and literary studies of the Early Modern Period with a focus on the Indigenous Americas. His interdisciplinary research examines a broad corpus of printed and manuscript texts in Classical, Indigenous, and Romance languages alongside Early Modern visual arts and Pre-Columbian archaeological material. Juan Carlos has received the support of fellowships from the Social Science Research Council, the Freie Universität Berlin’s Graduate School of Literary Studies, the Bard Graduate Center, The Center for Black, Brown, and Queer Studies, the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, and the Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life at Columbia University. Additionally, he has completed research assistanships at Stanford University and Universidad de Buenos Aires.
Please find a description of his research project below.
The Early Modern Invention of the Ancient Andes
Juan Carlos Mantilla, PhD Candidate, Columbia University, New York
Manco Capac, was, according to a mythical narrative from Cuzco, a founding ruler. With his brothers and sisters, called the Ayar, he emerged from the Cave of Pacaritambo with the command of funding a polity to organize the lawless territories of the Andean highlands. Manco Capac reappears in this seventeenth-century folio of the Italian Biblioteca Angelica ms. 1551, imagined standing as a roman statue, and termed “the first king of Perú.” In the Early Modern period, Manco Capac metamorphosed from a funding figure of Pacaritambo to an ancient king,
My research as part of the Census x Herztiana fellowship is an interdisciplinary exploration of the Early Modern transatlantic inventions of the Pre-Columbian past as part of global antiquity. This project is centered in the Andean region of the Americas and studies the reception of Pre-Columbian Andean ancient traditions in the visual and written culture of the Early Modern era and its entanglements with Early Modern political, historical, and theological theories. Locating this interest in pre-Columbian cultures as part of a broader Early Modern transatlantic scholarly and artistic interest in the ancient world, I explore the practices of acquisition of knowledge, theorization, and imagining of the pre-Columbian past, and their resulting mythmaking practices.
I argue that Pre-Columbian material culture and Indigenous history became a fundamental element of Early Modern culture. Early Modern artists and scholars created innovative forms to explore, interpret, depict, and narrate the histories of the Pre-Columbian past. In doing so, they simultaneously created the visual tropes and historiographical concepts through which the Pre-Columbian past is imagined until our days, such as the idea of the “Inca Kings” their “Fortresses” and “Temples.”
My project studies a corpus of Pre-Columbian objects and narratives in dialogue with their reception in the Early Modern arts and literatures, and their role in creating the idea of global antiquity. It is also a systematic study of the relevance of Indigenous traditions in Early Modern cultural history, and an in-depth exploration of Early Modern visual sources depicting Andean antiquity. My research highlights the inseparability of Indigenous material culture and pre-Columbian histories from Early Modern global art and cultural history.
Artist Unknown, Manco Capac, Rome, Biblioteca Angelica ms. 1551, section 3, fol. 77