Need a perfect paper? Place your first order and save 5% with this code:   SAVE5NOW

Cultural Comparison Paper

Religious art is any artwork that has religious significance. It can be for a specific religion or the unified faith of the region. For example, both Incan and pre-Incan influences on the Andes have left religious art referencing these different cultures. The word “Art” comes from Latin, which means craftsmanship. This indicates that art is always made intentionally by people. If you are making a thing yourself, you can call it an “artifact”. The word “Religion” comes from the Latin religion, which means to tie or bind. Religions conceptually bind people together into one group with shared values and beliefs.

Andean religious art has changed significantly between Spanish colonial rule and the 20th century (Salomon,1991). Before being conquered by Spain in the 16th century, Andean society was polytheistic. After this conquest, Catholicism became the dominant religion in most of the region. The two religions have blended to create a new style that is not quite one or another. Religious art has been present in Central America since the colonial era, and it has emerged as a significant topic of scholarship in the field of religious studies. Works of religious art often function as objects that bring to life and give physical form to beliefs about divine beings, belief systems, or other intangible aspects of human culture.

Central American Religious Art has a long history extending back to the Colonial Era and is still an important part of Mexican society today. The colonial era of art in Mexico is known for the vast amount of religious artwork produced. Spanish Colonial Art became very popular as it contained Catholic influences. The people from Central America mainly used it for churches and cathedrals, and private homes. These pieces were mostly paintings depicting religious figures, saints, and biblical stories whose principal objective was to inspire the faithful with religious sentiment. Catholicism also played a major role in developing religious art in Mexico. The Catholic Church was very influential as a landowner and power-holder. It established schools and training centers where artists could work on painting designs for churches and other religious buildings and paintings themselves. During the post-revolution era, art wasn’t very popular because it was thought to be too secular for Mexican society, which had just ended its former colonial status. This changed in the 1920s as a massive religious revitalization movement began to utilize art to spread its message. Art now found a new niche as it became more relevant to the average Mexican family.

The figure of Jesus from Central America is visible in Roman Catholicism and many other religions. One of the most famous representations of Jesus Christ, both religious and artistic, is the image of Christ on the crucifixion cross. The image of Christ on the cross is, in fact, a product of the Christian culture and its particular beliefs about the crucifixion of Jesus; however, there are many other images in which Christ is present, but differently. Observing this case from other cultures and religions can provide different insights into religious art. From our own culture, we could mention the numerous representations of Jesus realized by Mexican artisans and holy objects often made to be used in private homes. These representations are numerous culturally, but among all the holy objects can be found two of them: relics and icons. Relics are directly or indirectly involved in a saint’s life or martyrdom. These can be sacred images, small pieces of clothing, or even simple objects like bits of wood. Relics were brought to churches by devotees, who prayed for a better future for their loved ones and even for themselves. They could be used as a prayer to God and as a token to remember those who suffer beyond death Icons, which are religious images present in churches, may seem similar to relics. However, they typically consist of two elements: the image of Christ and across. It has been said that icons were made to help believers visualize Christ’s suffering on the cross. Not all icons represent the crucifixion of Jesus at every representation.

From the Andean cultures, I will analyze a painting called “The Virgin Mary” by Fernando Varela Rodulfo, which depicts an Andean religious figure. I will be analyzing this painting in the context of its history on the plane of modern art and its symbolic meaning. The symbolism of this work is based on the religious figure known as Mama María, an important figure from Andean mythology. She is considered the most powerful female figure in the Andean world, and she has many different aspects that include fertility, agriculture, human life, earth, and nature. She is a mother and is seen as the force of life. Symbolically, she represents love and protection; this notion can be seen in this painting, where she is holding an infant in her arms.

Finally, the people of Central America have their religious art. In contrast to their Andean neighbors, they are not preoccupied with stories or ceremonies dealing with death and war. They are more concerned with depicting naturalistic images such as flowers and animals (Cervantes).


Cervantes, Joseph M., and Thomas A. Parham. “Toward a meaningful spirituality for people of color: lessons for the counseling practitioner.” Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology 11.1 (2005): 69.

Salomon, Frank, and George L. Urioste. The Huarochiri manuscript: a testament of ancient and Colonial Andean religion. University of Texas Press, 1991.


Don't have time to write this essay on your own?
Use our essay writing service and save your time. We guarantee high quality, on-time delivery and 100% confidentiality. All our papers are written from scratch according to your instructions and are plagiarism free.
Place an order

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Need a plagiarism free essay written by an educator?
Order it today

Popular Essay Topics