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Extra resources for A Geography of Hard Times: Narratives About Travel to South America, 1780-1849 (Latin American and Iberian Thought and Culture)
America, which had often been allegorically represented as a woman, is in this print an androgynous person of classical bearing,9 dressed in the style of a Mexican warrior. Pallas Athena, Greek goddess of industry, offers an olive branch while Hermes, god of commerce, helps America to stand up. Below them lie remnants of the broken statue of an Aztec goddess. In the background rises the volcano Chimborazo, a majestic representation of American nature. ” These were key terms both for the Enlightenment and for the new mercantile system then imposing itself throughout the globe.
Of Mutis he says: [H]e is an aged priest, venerable, of almost seventy-two years, and a rich man as well. The king provides 10,000 piasters a year for the Botanical expedition. 30 painters have worked for Mutis for fifteen years; he has from 2000 to 3000 folio-sized drawings, miniatures. After the Banks’ in London, I have never seen a botanical library as large as that of Mutis. (Cartas Americanas, 85) During the Bogotá years, Jorge Tadeo Lozano and Francisco José de Caldas joined the project, and the Expedition broadened to take in the field of astronomy and zoology.
If it might have been of some novelty at the end of the eighteenth century because it partially imitated the clock of the Flora conceived by Linnaeus in Upsala, today is completely lacking in scientific importance. (Gredilla 1992, 362) The text consists of consecutive daily entries in which there is no observing subject, only the plants, which sleep and wake. Their anatomy is described in infinite detail and their reactions are perceived and told by the writer in a lyrical tone closer to poetry than to science.