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This article by Ricardo Hinestrosa Daza is divided into ten parts. In the first, the author discusses the concept of “emotion” formulated by educator Baldomero Sanín Cano in the November 1904 and January 1905 issues of Revista Contemporánea. In the second, he analyzes Sanín Cano’s conception of autonomous beauty in relation to truth and reality. In the third, he takes issue with the technical innovations introduced by the Impressionists. In the fourth, he distances himself from the opposition between mimesis and art. In the fifth, he opposes Sanín Cano’s characterization of Colombian artist Andrés de Santamaría’s work as Impressionist. In the sixth, he formulates a hypothesis on the origin of Impressionism. In the seventh, he analyzes de Santamaría’s influence on the local art milieu. In the eighth, he relativizes the influence of Japanese art on Western art. In the ninth, he compares the work of two Colombian artists: de Santamaría and Ricardo Acevedo Bernal. In the tenth, he celebrates the recognition of de Santamaría’s work in Paris.
This is the last article to form part of a polemic that ensued throughout 1904 and into 1905 surrounding the works that Andrés de Santamaría (1860–1945) exhibited at the Primer Salón organized by the Escuela de Bellas Artes in Bogotá. It was the first time that event was held after a drawn-out and intense confrontation between parties in the Thousand Days’ War (1899–1902). This text by Ricardo Hinestrosa Daza (1874–1963) challenges the essays by Baldomero Sanín Cano and poet Maximiliano Grillo, also known as Max Grillo (1868–1949), published in the same magazine (Revista Contemporánea) between November 1904 and April 1905.
In this text, Hinestrosa Daza formulates extensive arguments against the notions put forth by Sanín Cano in the articles “El impresionismo en Bogotá I” [doc. no. 1080092] and “El Impresionismo en Bogotá II” [doc. no. 1079572]. Specifically, Hinestrosa Daza disputes Sanín Cano’s concept of “emotion,” as well as the supposed contradiction between semblance, truth, and reality innate to Impressionism. The fact that Hinestrosa Daza takes issue with calling de Santamaría’s work Impressionist is particularly significant since that painter played a critical role in how Impressionism—and Modern art in general—was received in Colombia.
Hinestrosa Daza eschews Impressionism outright. He considers it the product of a society “that has tried everything.” He objects in particular to the disconnect that, according to Sanín Cano, Impressionism formulates between the “soul” and pure technical innovation. The alleged rejection of drawing in favor of the blotch of paint which Sanín Cano attributes to Impressionism is, in Hinestrosa Daza’s view, a fundamental reason for opposing that movement in Colombia.
According to artist and art historian Beatriz González (born 1938), Hinestrosa Daza’s entire argument is influenced by the naturalism of the French Barbizon School (c. 1830–70), specifically Swiss philosopher Henri Frédéric Amiel’s phrase “every landscape is a state of the soul” (1821–1881).
Ricardo Hinestrosa Daza fought in the civil war of 1895. In the Thousand Days’ War (1899–1902) he was a colonel in the Liberal Revolutionary Army. He was taken political prisoner in 1900. Along with Sanín Cano, Hinestrosa Daza was a pioneer in literary Modernism in Colombia. He was a cofounder and the secretary of Revista Contemporánea, which was central to that movement. Hinestrosa Daza held high-level posts in the Colombian judicial system, parliament, and Department of the Treasury. He was also the rector of the Universidad Externado of Colombia (1933–63).