Les Artistes

"Icon(s)" april - july 2015

Born in Ecuador in 1723, he died in 1796.

Manuel Chili, known as Caspicara (“wooden face”), was an indigenous sculptor from Ecuador. He was a student of renowned sculptors Diego de Robles and Bernardo de Legarda. An outstanding sculptor of religious images in polychrome wood, he achieved great success during his lifetime, both in Ecuador and in other countries in Latin America. He is often considered as the master of the Quito school, which is the name given to the extraordinarily prolific artistic period in Ecuador under Spanish colonialism. His reputation as an artist was so great that King Carlos III is reported to have said: “I am not concerned that Italy has Michelangelo; in my colonies of America I have the master Caspicara.”