Lady with the Parrot, 1917
Oil on canvas, 108 X 63 cms.
Courtesy of the Galería Arvil, Mexico City

artesanía |aɾˈni.a|

NOUN crafts, craftsmanship, handicraft
ORIGIN Spanish, ‘art,’ from the Latin ars

The woman in this piece is little more than a hanger for her traditional clothing. By focusing on the beauty of contemporary artesanía, or material culture, Mérida’s paintings departed from the European focus on pre-Columbian art, which tended to ignore indigenous art created after the Spanish Conquest. In doing so, Mérida aligned himself with some of his Mexican friends from his heady days in Montmartre. Together, they dedicated themselves to the study of artesanía.