Home > South America > Peru > Peru Overview > Art
Page Rating
Content Quality:

Page Importance:
Author Pick:
Close Map

Book a Hotel or Hostel

Hotels Hostels & Budget


Check in Date

Check out Date

Number of Rooms

Top Peru


The arts have played a prominent role in Peruvian history and culture, coloring the nation with a wide variety of styles that can be seen across its regions in everything from literature and architecture-to painting, crafts and dance.

While Spanish influence cannot be denied, the indigenous heritage of Peru is one of the richest in South America, with traces of Inca tradition prominent throughout Peruvian art and culture. Art forms from architecture to handicrafts are a unique fusion of Spanish and Native American forms. Descendents of the Quechua and Aymara people who populate much of the Andean highlands have managed to preserve and continue to emulate the folklore and traditions of their ancestors, while other regions have incorporated these customs into modern designs, making for a vibrant melding of styles throughout Peru's artistic history and in contemporary works.

Painting and Sculpture

Spanish colonization brought European art into the new world and its influence spread rapidly throughout Peru as religious paintings were used to teach Christianity. By the 17th century, native artists began melding the imported art with local tradition and style, leading to the Peruvian-Euro influenced Cuzco School of the 17th and 18th centuries. The Cuzco School was the largest movement in Peru's art history, made up of mestizo painters and sculptors who produced countless depictions of religious figures adorned in gold. Artists of the era were largely influenced by Spanish and Late Gothic works.

During the 19th century, artists began following the lead of the Mexican muralists, leading into a Peruvian movement incorporating Andean accents and depicting the life and hardships of the nation's indigenous people. An indigenous movement led by painter José Sabogal (1888-1956) in the 20th century sought to integrate pre-Columbian influence with Peruvian style and tradition. Works largely depicted indigenous women and incorporated ancient motifs from weaving and pottery. By the mid 20th century, artists began experimenting with abstract art, though works today still maintain pre-Columbian and Peruvian motifs.


While much of Peruvian architecture is of Creole style, blending Spanish and indigenous styles, there is also a prominent Moorish influence brought in from North Africa to Spain and then into the Americas. Of course Peru's proud array of ruins, from Machu Pichu to Moche, present a very real form of pre-conquest art, including impressive stonework molded by the hands of the individuals who built the ancient cities, and these can not be ignored as a integral part of the nation's finest artwork.


Peru is a haven for folk art and high quality handcrafts, boasting one of the largest variety of arts and crafts in the world, which can be found across the nation. Folk art is not only a fundamental activity for the cultural identity of Peru, but a way of life for many communities. A diverse array of brightly colored textiles—particularly from the highlands in Ayacucho and Huancayo—depict local Andean and coastal life, with large graphic pre-Hispanic shapes of animals and indigenous life influenced by forms brought over by the Spanish. Pottery, woodwork, woven baskets, manipulated gold and silver jewelry and hand-tooled leather goods are also ubiquitous across the nation. Passion comes through the imagery and threads of works made by a culture that communicates mainly through art. The Paracas region is renowned for its long tradition of unique woven designs.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Peru: Yma Sumac - The Pop Life of an Andean Princess, Literature In Peru, Peruvian Culture, Peruvian Cinema: From Crisis To Opportunity, Museums in Peru, Peru Dance and Theatre, Music in Peru and Arequipa’s Phantoms.

By Caroline Bennett
exploring, laughing, wanderlust, strangers. 120 film, making art, cyanotypes, vintage. scotch on the rocks & coffee, black. the unknown. the sound of...
13 Jun 2012

Top Places to go in Latin America - as rated by V!VA Members
You must register as an owner for access to these listing tools and benefits.

Notification of new reviews: receive your latest reviews by e-mail

Customized request-a-review link: encourage guests to spread the word about your property

Our owners' newsletter: stay informed about our latest tools and benefits for you

User login

Enter your username and password here in order to log into the website:


Create a new V!VA account

Forgot Password