Larissa Bates

The Impossibility of Seeing: Animals of the Universal History of the Things of New Spain, or the Florentine, 2015

This piece has a 20% Buyer's Premium.

Time remaining



Gouache and gold leaf on panel
14.0 x 11.0 in (35.6 x 27.9 cm)
Signed on verso


This work ships from Maspeth, NY, US.


This work references the early points of contact between the Spanish Empire and the Americas. The Florentine Codex was compiled during the early colonial period of Latin American History as the Spanish Fransiscan Benardino de Sahagun worked in partnership with his former Nahua students to compile a manuscript of over 2000 drawings that resulted in 12 books (1545-1590). The manuscript served as a cultural, religious, ethnographic, linguistic, and naturalistic document to help the missionaries evangelizing the Nahtual people. The gold clouds in the painting reference the Biombo screens painted by Mexican artists as they encountered imported Japanese screens that came through Mexico as part of the global silver trade. The work is interested in the complexities of cultural intersection.