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As Latin America has searched for its own identity, its artists have looked to their past, to their popular culture, to their religion, to their political surroundings, and to their personal imaginations to create a distinct tradition of Latin American art.The appreciation of Latin American art and its history began as a nationalist endeavour in the second half of the 19th century, inspired in part by the independence movements that took place there at the beginning of the century.Latin American artists have often superficially accepted styles from Europe and the , modifying them to reflect their local cultures and experiences.

Increasingly, however, reciprocal influences could be felt from both groups as more cultural and ethnic mixing came to define the region.

As in Spanish America, Christian missionaries became part of this framework.

A huge number of African slaves were imported to Brazil, in part because of the needs of the sugar industry and in part because only a small number of often intractable native peoples remained in the area.

Indigenous artists were shown imported works by European artists that served as models.

reached the Caribbean in his voyages from 1492 to 1502.

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The writers generally did not possess a great knowledge of the history of art, but they often brought the knowledge of having lived in Europe and seen the famous monuments that inspired works in various Latin American countries.