Great Mural of Cusco, considered the biggest mural of South America
The biggest mural of South America is located in the city of Cusco. This precious work of art was painted by a local person, Juan Bravo Vizcarra, during a period of nine months. The mural is located near Plaza de Armas of Cusco. It is not difficult to get there. Would you like to know how to get to the “Great Mural of Cusco”? Join us on this adventure!
Great Mural of Cusco is located on Sol Av., very close to the Esplanade of Qoricancha, across from “Correo” bus stop. Walking from Plaza de Armas, it will take you 10 minutes approximately to get there.
Since the Great Mural of Juan Bravo Vizcarra is located in Cusco, it is at an altitude of 3399 m.a.s.l.
A Mural with interesting History
In June, 1992, the current major of Cusco, Daniel Estrada Pérez, inaugurated this monumental work as part of the celebration of the 500 years of Andean resistance to the European invasion.
Previously, these two minds gathered together to join ideas, conviction and a desire of depicting the same feeling on a mural that could impress any eager eye marveled by Cusco History. Finally, Daniel Estrada and master Juan Bravo Vizcarra agreed on a mural that showed the evolution of the Historical capital of Peru, starting with the Incas empire until the republican period, going through the cruel and bloody Spanish invasion, and the oppressive and inhuman colonial period.
The loved Qosqoruna (person from Cusco) went to El Sol Av. to verify the progress of the mural since there was few time left to the inauguration programmed for June. Much to his disappointment, the work was far from being concluded. Master Juan Bravo excused himself saying that his two assistants, painters Carlos Hurtado and Wilson, had left him alone.
As days went by, Juan Bravo struggled on his loneliness to end the work of art, but he just couldn’t. That was why, he went to Daniel Estrada to ask him for other assistants. To grant to his request, the major decided to check the mural. When he arrived, he saw Hurtado and Wilson working. They were there climbing the scaffolding.
The mural author’s Anger:
Master Juan Bravo got very angry when he saw what these 2 men were doing. And with an incredible force, he starting shaking the scaffolding trying to scare these 2 men. You should know that Bravo was 75 years old. However, his age didn’t stop him from making the 2 men run for their lives.
Some days later, Daniel Estrada convinced Bravo to forgive these 2 young men and to end the mural within the deadline of June, 1992.
Writes: Alberto García Campana.
Details of the mural: The great Mural of Juan Bravo Vizcarra stands out for many characteristics that we mention below:
- Development of Inca culture. It shows 5 stages.
- History of Cusco of 300 years approximately.
- It is 50 meters in length and 6 meters in width.
- After 9 months of hard work, it was finally completed, for the festival of Cusco in June, 1992.
- The images are very representative since they contrast real periods of the Inca empire history.
- Nowadays, the “Great Mural” is one of the most important didactic pieces of Cusco.
What material was used to create the mural?
According to the declaration of the deceased author of the mural Juan Bravo Vizcarra, the masterpiece was made using stone and concrete. We know that the paint was brought from Mexico. It is worth to mention that the mural must receive maintenance on a regular basis because of the material that was used. You should also be aware that this masterpiece doesn’t meet all the standards to be considered intangible.
What does the mural depict?
the author of the masterpiece points out that his main objective was to show the world the history of Cusco, going through different periods of time. Each stage shows what the people went through:
First Stage: Origin
It is on the first part of the mural on the left side. Here you can appreciate the Andean Cosmovision and the three worlds connected, Hanan Pacha (up world), Urin Pacha (down world), and Kay Pacha (world of the living).
In addition, you can clearly observe men development. They are performing some activities like the domestication of plants and camelids. Of great interested is also to observe how the artist painted the contact of these people with fire, metal and stone. These materials served to build the big and important ceremonial centers during Incas time.
Second Stage: Inca Empire
On the second stage of the “Great Mural”, you can see the consolidation and development of the Inca Empire. Here the author depicts the way Incas built their important constructions, which as time went by had great historical and cultural value. It shows carving stones and moving them to the place they would be used.
In addition, you can observe Inca Pachacutec, main representative of the inca period, Andean trilogy (puma, condor and snake), and the Chacana, also known as the Andean Cross.
Third stage: The conquest
It is in the middle of the mural. Here the painting depicts the exact moment of the Spanish conquest of the andean lands. Among main characteristics of the images are the indigenous exploitation, cultural bondage, and torture of the Holy Inquisition. On this small scene of the Great Mural of Cusco, you can notice the presence of famous and well known Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, author of the Royal Commentaries of the Incas and painter from Diego Quispe Ttito, born in Cusco.
Fourth stage: The Rebellion
Each stage points out an important and meaningful part for Cusco people. On this fourth stage of the “Great Mural”, you can observe the Independence process. The central image shows the dismemberment of pioneer Jose Gabriel Condorcanqui, better known as Tupac Amaru II, who fought for the indigenous rights to his very last days.
If you observe the fourth stage of the mural in detail, you will notice that the four horses that pull the limbs of Tupac Amarú II, are represented as centaurs. This was done to represent the four powers of the Viceroyalty, the catholic church, the Spanish crown, the FF.AA (military forces), and the landowners.
Where can you observe these details? The church is represented by a centaur holding a cross with his hand. Spanish crown is on Tupac Amaru II head. Military Forces and landowners are represented on the other centaurs.
To complete the fourth stage, you can see the image of Peru independence represented by Don Jose de San Martin together with Agustin Gamarra (Peruvian president twice from 1829 to 1833 and from 1839 to 1841).
Fifth stage: The modernity
Lastly, “Great Mural” depicts people performing agricultural, artistic, and textile activities. It also shows diverse social classes and ethnic groups. The objective of this stage, made by Juan Bravo Vizcarra in 1992, was to demonstrate the development of the future of Cusco up from then.
Now let me share with you the work of local young people in honor to Juan Bravo Vizcarra, author of the masterpiece, “Great Mural of Cusco”. Click on the link below
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