Power and Piety: Spanish Colonial Art From the Patricia Phelps De Cisneros Collection

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October 16, 2017
Davenport, Iowa (October 10, 2017) – On Saturday a new exhibition will open in the third-floor gallery at the Figge Art Museum. Power and Piety: Spanish Colonial Art From the Patricia Phelps De Cisneros Collection presents 56 objects, ranging from paintings to silver candlesticks to bishop’s chairs, made in the Spanish and Portuguese colonies of the Americas from the late 17th to the early 19th centuries.

Designed for use in churches, convents and monasteries, and private homes, these objects were made by craftsmen in the Americas but based on the iconographies, styles and techniques of the European Renaissance. They attest to the tremendous interchange of cultures that occurred in the colonies, where craftsmen mixed native techniques and symbols with designs introduced by the church and also absorbed influences from across the world.

In the words of the collector, “Colonial society could be considered the first global society, with influences flowing in a reciprocal manner between Europe and South America, communicating the cultural news from Africa and Asia, as well as transporting artisans from one port to another who brought with them skills and traditions from home...the result could be seen in, for example, a chair that combined Renaissance-inspired gargoyles carved in the manner of Mexican Tlaxcala masks....”

The exhibition also highlights the ways in which people practiced their religion at home and in public, with tiny paintings of patron saints contrasted with painted altarpieces and ecclesiastical furniture.

Together the works offer an opportunity to learn about the daily life and religious practices of colonial Latin America and shed light on the nature of commercial exchange in the region.

Power and Piety is drawn from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros and is co-organized by the Museum of Biblical Art, New York, and Art Services International, Alexandria, Virginia.

Sponsored by Xenotronics Company, Thomas K. and Jennifer Figge, the exhibition will be on view October 14, 2017–January 7, 2018.

Companion Events:
Scholar Talk: Monica Domingez Torres
Thursday, November 9
5:30 p.m. Reception
7 p.m. Scholar Talk
Dr. Monica Dominguez Torres will present the lecture “Miracle-making Images in the Spanish World.” She is an associate professor and director of Undergraduate Studies (Department of Art History) and director of Latin American and Iberian Studies at the University of Delaware.
Free Family Day
10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, November 18
Free Admission
Enjoy free admission all day with scheduled activities from 10 a.m.- 1 p.m. Inspirations will be drawn from current exhibitions. Sponsored by the Quad-City Times.
Guided Tours
1:30 p.m. Saturday, November 4, December 9
1:30 p.m. Sunday, November 5 & December 10
Meet in the Museum Store. Free with admission.
About the Figge Art Museum:
The Figge Art Museum is located on the riverfront in downtown Davenport at 225 West Second Street. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and Sundays noon to 5 p.m. Thursdays the museum is open until 9 p.m. Admission to the museum and tour is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and students with ID and $4 children ages 4-12. Admission is free to Figge members and institutional members, and free to all on Thursday evenings from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The Figge Café is open 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. To contact the museum, please call 563.326.7804, or visit

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