The Watch

Angasmarca Temple

Angasmarca, Peru

2004 World Monuments Watch

One of the unexpected cultural and artistic offspring of the Conquest, the “mestizo baroque” was the architectural expression of the commingling of European and Native American cultures. In 1615, Italian architect Carlos Antonio Vianni sought to bring the glories of the baroque and rococo to the Andes in the parish church of Angasmarca by using indigenous artists and builders. What emerged was extraordinary. The adobe church’s interior was an encrusted symphony of color and form, statuary and symbol, a full flower of aesthetic fusion. The church’s facade would later be altered to reflect classical tastes in the eighteenth century by Native American architect Don Juan Calipuy, before finally undergoing considerable reconstruction during the nineteenth century when it was rededicated to Our Lady of the Assumption. The combined effects of age, improper maintenance, and climatic conditions such as heavy rains have created a host of problems for the 350-year-old church. Structural cracks on the tower and nave have damaged interior finishes and threatened the church with collapse. The original roof was replaced by one of corrugated iron, which has allowed water to infiltrate the structure, causing damage to the decorative plaster. In 1993, a conservation study was undertaken, but emergency repairs and stabilization have yet to be done. Last update: 2004

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