Tlacuilolli Redrawn: Agostino Aglio and Mexican Antiquity

Free admission

In the early nineteenth century, images of ancient American art became widely available for the first time in the aftermath of political and technological revolutions. As these works circulated, they were appropriated and transformed in new contexts. This exhibition examines the place of Mexican antiquity in British visual culture through the work of Agostino Aglio (1777–1857), an Italian artist active in Britain in the early to mid-nineteenth century. Aglio contributed to the first modern exposition of ancient American art and the first publication of complete color facsimiles of Aztec, Maya, and Mixtec manuscripts. Through his illustrations and reproductions, Aglio’s hand mediated how subsequent artists and scholars visualized the ancient Americas. Bringing together Mesoamerican art from across Yale’s campus and showcasing the YCBA’s important collection of works on paper, the exhibition explores Indigenous traditions of creation and their legacies.

Top image
Agostino Aglio after Central Mexican Artists, “Fac-simile of an Original Mexican Painting Preserved in the Borgian Museum, at the College of Propaganda in Rome” [Codex Borgia, f. 59], in volume 3 of Antiquities of Mexico: Comprising Fac-similes of Ancient Mexican Paintings and Hieroglyphics by Edward King, Viscount Kingsborough. London: Published by Robert Havell and Colnaghi, Son, and Co (detail), 1831, hand-colored lithograph. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection