Christiane Clados
Nasca Drawings Collection

Identifying Individual Artists and Workshops in Nasca Paintings

It is possible to recognize the presence of the hand of specific painters and workshops. The evidence of different artists' hands, according to Morelli's analysis (1892-1900), can be perceived by comparing the style and posture of hands, headdress, mouth mask and other perceptible features that can be evaluated to see their similarities and differences, all this based on the individuality of the artists' strokes in these special characteristics which usually are the most difficult features to reproduce. The painting in CL 42 and 224 are made by the same artist. Also, CL 291 and CL 292 show the hand of the same painter although the shape of the vessel differs. While the hand of the painters in CL 194 and CL 195 are not identical the paintings depict the Masked Mythical Being by using the same type of head, headdress, gesture and head of the signifier terminator, indicating the same region or workshop. The painters of both CL 97 and CL 177 painted an archaistic version of supernatural beings by depicting Paracas-style serpent-like streamers attached to the body, indicating painters from workshops close to each other.

Regarding the pictorial techniques the paintings show the use of brushes (CL 89) and a stick-like tool that might have wrapped with raw cotton or textile to produce a line of constant thickness (CL 181). A wider brush may have been used for the fill. Image CL 213 and CL 234 show bottom panels with identical heads in frontal view suggesting they were done with stencils or templates.

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