The 1859 article by Peruvian painter Francisco Laso on the history of Peruvian architecture, sculpture, and painting is primarily a critique of the lack of support for artists in Peru. Laso contends that the inferiority of Peruvian artistic production, in comparison to that of other nations, can be attributed to the history of the Spanish conquest, and also to the unwillingness of postindependence governments to serve as art patrons or encourage the artistic development that is integral to the foundation of a modern nation. He also recounts the history of artistic production in Peru from before the Spanish conquest until the 1850s. He emphasizes the indispensability of the arts to any civilization, explaining that as soon as the basic necessities of life are met, a civilization shifts its focus to dedicating sculpture to its gods, and to erecting huts, which are the foundation of architecture. However, according to Laso, painting represents the highest artistic achievement of an advanced civilization, and would eventually have become an Incan practice had the Incas not first been conquered and subjugated by the Spanish. He contends that the Incas were a young civilization when conquered, and had only achieved insignificant architectural gains (he believed the stonework of Cusco to be the ruin of a civilization that predated the Inca). However, Laso praises the Incan huacos, or metal and clay vases in the shape of animals, plants, and human figures. After the arrival of Pizarro and the Spanish conquest of Peru, cathedrals and monasteries constructed by the Spanish, and the imported European paintings of saints, represented the only artistic presence in the country, according to Laso. Indigenous Peruvians were taught to imitate Spanish painting styles and were supported by convents in their artisan and artistic practice. Laso asserted that their lives were preferable to those of his contemporaries, since the profession and skills of artists were not highly valued in Peruvian society. He also asserts that despite the favorability of independence for Peru’s previous colonial status, postindependence governments failed the goals of the enrichment of an independent nation by investing all of their money in military ventures, and exerting little effort in promoting arts and industry. Laso concludes by discouraging the youth of Peru from pursuing the artistic profession in that country.