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Peru's earliest artwork came from the Cupisnique culture, which was concentrated on the Pacific coast, and the Chavín culture, which was largely north of Lima between the Andean mountain ranges of the Cordillera Negra and the Cordillera Blanca. Decorative work from this era, approximately the 9th century BCE, was symbolic and religious in nature. The artists worked with gold, silver, and ceramics to create a variety of sculpture and relief carvings. These civilizations were also known for their architecture and stone sculpture.
Between the 8th century BCE and the first century CE, the Paracas Cavernas and Paracas Necropolis cultures developed on the south coast of Peru. Paracas Cavernas produced complex polychrome and monochrome ceramics with religious representations. Burials from the Paracas Necropolis also yielded [textiles], many produced with sophisticated geometric patterns.Moche, in the Lambayeque region. The Mochica culture produced impressive architectural works, such as the Huacas del Sol y de la Luna and the Huaca Rajada of Sipan. They were expert at cultivation in terraces and hydraulic engineering, and produced original ceramics, textiles, pictorial and sculptural works.
Another urban culture, the Wari civilization, flourished between the 8th and 12th centuries in Ayacucho. Their centralized town planning was extended to other areas, such as Pachacamac, Cajamarquilla, and Wari Willca.
Between the 9th and 13th centuries CE, the military urban Tiwanaku empire rose by the borders of Lake Titicaca. Centered around a city of the same name in modern-day Bolivia, the Tiwanaku introduced stone architecture and sculpture of a monumental type. These works of architecture and art were made possible by the Tiwanaku's developing bronze, which enabled them to make the necessary tools.
Urban architecture reached a new height between the 14th and 15th centuries in the Chimú Culture. The Chimú built the city of Chan Chan in the valley of the Moche river, in La Libertad. The Chimú were skilled goldsmiths and created remarkable works of hydraulic engineering.
The Inca Civilization, which united Peru under its hegemony in the centuries immediately preceding the Spanish conquest, incorporated into their own works a great part of the cultural legacy of the civilizations which preceded it. Important relics of their artwork and architecture can be seen in cities like Cusco, architectural remains like Sacsahuaman and Machu Picchu, and stone pavements that united Cusco with the rest of the Inca Empire.
Peruvian sculpture and painting began to define themselves from the ateliers founded by monks, who were strongly influenced by the Sevillian Baroque School. In this context, the stalls of the Lima Cathedral choir, the fountain of the Main Square of Lima and a great part of the colonial production were registered.
The synthesis of European and indigenous influences was particularly evident in painting. You are able to see this in the portrait of prisoner Atahualpa, from D. de Mora, or in the canvases of the Italians Mateo Pérez de Alesio and Angelino Medoro, the Spaniards Francisco Bejarano and J. de Illescas and the Creole J. Rodriguez.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, the Baroque also dominated the field of plastic arts. In the 19th century, the French Rococo and Neoclassicism and Romanticism found their best representatives in L. Montero, Ignacio Merino, and Francisco Masias.
The establishment of the Fine Arts School of Lima (1919) had a decisive influence on Peruvian sculpture and painting.
Among the painters, Daniel Hernández, R. Grau, Cesar Quispez Asin, and Jose Sabogal are particularly notable. Sabogal headed the indigenous movement, which was one of the main influences on Peruvian contemporary painting; some of the most widely recognized painters are Fernando de Szyszlo, Alberto Davila, Armando Villegas, Sabino Springett, J. Alberto Tello Montalvo, Victor Humareda, M. A. Cuadros, Angel Chávez, Milner Cajahuaringa, Arturo Kubotta, Venancio Shinki, Alberto Quintanilla, G. Chávez, Tilsa Tsuchiya, David Herskowitz, Oscar Allain, and Carlos Revilla.