Colombia Arts History: 19th century

After independence, state institutions and wealthy citizens became the most important clients from 1819 onwards. Your taste demands v. a. representative works. Foreign currents are particularly well received from France, England and Italy. Partly due to the artists of these nations working in the country. In the second half of the 19th century, many Colombians study in Europe and return to their homeland with new impulses, which leads to the establishment of cultural institutions and the academization of art. Visit for Colombia the country that offers everything.

Architecture: After completing various projects that were influenced by Neoclasicismo at the beginning of the 19th century (especially in Bogotá Observatory, 1802–03; facade of the cathedral, 1807–23; both by Petrés), a phase of low construction activity follows. Important suggestions come from the Danish Thomas Reed (* around 1810, † 1878) who worked in Bogotá, who built the Panóptico prison (planned in 1850, built 1874–81, today Museo Nacional) and, as the most important architectural complex of the 19th century, the Parliament Capitolio Nacional (1847 ff.; continued by the Italian Pietro Cantini, * 1850, † 1929; completed in 1925). At the end of the 19th century, the eclectic Teatro Colón (1886–92, from Cantini) and the building of the Bavaria Brewery (1889–91, by the Spaniard Alejandro Manrique Canals, * 1853, † 1923; redesigned in 1919 by Alberto Manrique Martín, * 1890, † 1968).

In the up-and-coming Medellín, the monumental brick Villanueva Cathedral was built in neo-Romanesque style from 1880 (completed in 1931; by the French Charles Carré, * 1863, † around 1923, and the Italian Giovanni Buscaglione, * 1874, † 1941). In the coffee region of the Central Cordillera, a new type of secular architecture is emerging with country houses whose facades have barred windows and brightly colored wooden balconies.

Plastic: The plastic is v. a. marked by the imports of European sculptors for the monuments of the independence fighters (e.g. bronze statue of S. Bolívar, a work of the Italian P. Tenerani, inaugurated in 1846 on the Plaza Bolívar in Bogotá). His compatriot César Sighinolfi (* 1833, † 1902) was involved in the design of the Teatro Colón in Bogotá from 1885 and taught at the art academy (including bronze figures of C. Columbus and Isabella II, 1893, Bogotá, today at the Autopista Eldorado).

Painting: In painting, too, the newly gained independence is initially the central theme (e.g. the standardized portraits of freedom fighters from the family workshop around Pedro José Figueroa, * around 1770, † 1838). The most important portrait painter is José María Espinosa (* 1796, † 1883), who was the first to overcome the colonial style, also composed historical battles and made some environmental studies (including miniatures on ivory). Popular miniaturists of the bourgeoisie are Pío Domínguez del Castillo (* 1780, † 1861) and José Manuel Groot (* 1800, † 1878; also landscapes). Documentary art learned from 1850–59 through the expedition of the Comisión Corográfica of the Italian geographer Agustín Codazzi (* 1793, † 1859) an upswing: his main illustrators Carmelo Fernandez (* 1811, † 1877), Henry Price (* 1819, † 1863) and Manuel María Paz (* 1820, † 1902) watercolors more than two hundred depictions of the Landscape and Population of Colombia. Around 1850 the romantic genre painting of Costumbrismo developed with Ramón Torres Mendez (* 1809, † 1885) as the main representative.

With the founding of the art school Escuela de Bellas Artes in Bogotá, the heyday of European-influenced academy painting began in 1886, supported by its first director Alberto Urdaneta (* 1845, † 1887). Portrait (especially Epifanio Garay, * 1849, † 1903; Ricardo Acevedo Bernal, * 1867, † 1930) and landscape painting (especially Francisco Antonio Cano, * 1865, † 1935; Ricardo Moros Urbina, * 1865, † 1942) dominate.. Andrés de Santa María (* 1860, † 1945), who worked most of the time in Belgium and France and was influenced by Impressionism, occupies a special position.

Graphics and photography: In the 1870s, supported by the political party dispute, the caricature published by Urdaneta in several newspapers gained in importance (wood engravings and lithographs, also by Alfredo Greñas, * 1859, † 1949). The magazine Papel Periódico Ilustrado (1881–88) published by Urdaneta in Bogotá was particularly important with woodcuts by various artists showing the landscape, architecture and people of Colombia. The beginnings of photography go back to the daguerreotypes of the French Jean-Baptiste-Louis Gros (* 1793, † 1870), who worked in Colombia from 1839–43. The first Colombian to work in the new technique (since 1841) is the painter and sculptor Luis García Hevia (* 1816, † 1887), since 1848 followed by Fermín Isaza (* 1809, † 1895), with his own studio in Medellín. Important photographers in the fields of portraits and (urban) landscapes are Henri Duperly (* around 1830, † 1908), Quintilio Gavassa (* 1861, † 1922) and the documentarist Melitón Rodríguez (* 1875, † 1923) who worked in Medellín.

The spirit of the 19th century, which was shaped by European academicism, extends into the first decades of the 20th century. Approaches to modernity can only be found in the 1930s, reinforced by immigrants and Colombians trained abroad (also influences from Mexico and the USA); From the end of the 1940s, a consistently modern art was introduced, with the implementation of international concepts taking into account the company’s own cultural tradition. After an upswing in art life in the 1960s and 1970s (including construction activity and the growing art market), the last few decades have been characterized in various ways by the search for identity and reflection on social problems.

Colombia Arts History - 19th century