The Jesuits were one of the most active religious orders working the mission field in colonial Latin America, and one of the greatest patrons of church architecture and the arts. Their approach involved adapting forms and traditions from indigenous peoples to make Christianity seem more palatable and familiar. However, this cultural hybridization allowed indigenous groups to incorporate aspects of their world view, ideology, and even religion into the art and architecture they produced for the Jesuits – often without their knowledge. As a result, profoundly hybrid forms were created that are unique to Latin America and to the regions in which they were commissioned and built.
Gauvin Alexander Bailey is Professor and Alfred and Isabel Bader Chair in Southern Baroque Art at Queen’s University. He has held fellowships with the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies at Villa I Tatti, among others, and was the 2017 Panofsky Professor at the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte in Munich and 2006 Henry Luce Professor at Boston University. He is also correspondent étranger of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres at the Institut de France and a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Bailey has published nine books, co-authored or edited seven more, and written over 90 articles. Recent books include The Palace of Sans-Souci in Milot, Haiti (ca. 1806-13): the Untold Story of the Potsdam of the Rainforest (Berlin and Munich, Deutscher Kunstverlag, 2017) and Architecture & Urbanism in the French Atlantic Empire: State, Church, and Society, 1604-1830 (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2018). His most recent book, to be published in 2022 by McGill-Queen’s University Press, is The Architecture of Empire: France in India and Southeast Asia, 1664-1954.