MACHU PICCHU, AFTER THE RAIN
96"x48" oil paint on polyester canvas - 2015
Experience at Machu Picchu
The rain and mist poured down as I climbed up the side of Machu Picchu Mountain. Good thing I packed a poncho to keep the sketch book and camera gear dry. The smooth rocks under my boots were slippery and dangerous. Before reaching the summit, there was a narrow passageway lined with backpackers and climbers. Clinging to the side of the cliff face, looking down seven thousand feet to the river valley, I managed to reach the top. Once at the summit, the clouds started to clear revealing a glistening Inca Citadel below. Almost as if the heavens opened up.
I stayed on top of Machu Pichu Mountain for a couple of hours sketching the mood and photographing the scene with wide and zoom lenses as different cloud formations floated by. Tremendous scenes of mist rose up from the deep valley of the Urubamba River, giving the Inca Citadel a mythical illusion.
Another perfect location was on top of the agricultural terraces, above and behind the guard house, commanding a superior view of all of the mystical Inca citadel, the river valley below, and a theatrical backdrop of the Andes Mountains.
This was a special place to the ancient Inca people. They must have felt this very same privilege to witness such a grandeur. -T. J. Mueller
About Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is an Incan citadel set high in the Andes Mountains in Peru, above the Urubamba River valley. Built in the 15th century and later abandoned, it’s renowned for its sophisticated dry-stone walls that fuse huge blocks without the use of mortar, intriguing buildings that play on astronomical alignments and panoramic views. Its exact former use remains a mystery.
Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was constructed as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472). Often mistakenly referred to as the "Lost City of the Incas" (a title more accurately applied to Vilcabamba), it is the most familiar icon of Inca civilization. The Incas built the estate around 1450 but abandoned it a century later at the time of the Spanish Conquest. Although known locally, it was not known to the Spanish during the colonial period and remained unknown to the outside world until American historian Hiram Bingham brought it to international attention in 1911.
Machu Picchu was built in the classical Inca style, with polished dry-stone walls. Its three primary structures are the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows. Most of the outlying buildings have been reconstructed in order to give tourists a better idea of how they originally appeared. By 1976, thirty percent of Machu Picchu had been restored and restoration continues.
Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historic Sanctuary in 1981 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. In 2007, Machu Picchu was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in a worldwide Internet poll.