Thomas Bangs Thorpe (1815–1878), United States
The Pyramid at Uxmal, 1843
Oil on canvas
Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros
Thorpe never traveled to the Yucatán peninsula. His paintings are based on engravings by the U.S. artist-explorer Benjamin Moore Norman (1809–1860), which were published in 1843. The engravings, not meant to be faithful accounts of the Mayan ruins, sought to capitalize on the popularity and exotic novelty of indigenous Mexico in the United States. Thorpe was probably commissioned by Norman, or one of Norman’s followers, to paint these images, in which he exoticized the scenes by covering the architecture in native vegetation.