The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
In 1951, the weekly magazine Crítica published this interview with the Colombian poet Luis Vidales Jaramillo, in which the first two questions explore his teaching vocation, his historically and sociologically inspired methodology, and his development as a professor during his thirteen years at the Escuela de Bellas Artes [School of Fine Arts] at the National University of Colombia. The third question discusses the genesis and transcendent nature of the Tratado de Estética [Aesthetics Treatise], the major work by Vidales published in 1946 [see “Tratado de Estética. Prólogo,” doc. no. 1080374]. Vidales Jaramillo answers the fourth question by naming the artists who attended his classes during those years, and goes on to reply to the last two controversial questions that address the dismissal of art professors and the operation of artistic organizations.
The weekly magazine Crítica—owned and directed by the well-known writer Jorge Zalamea (1905–1969)—published this interview on March 23, 1951. A few weeks earlier, the poet and art critic Luis Vidales (1900–1990) had been relieved of his duties as professor of ethics and art history at the Escuela de Bellas Artes [School of Fine Arts] at the National University of Colombia. This article sought to investigate that incident in order to analyze the extent to which politics intervened in the teaching of art in those days. Though the interview is not signed, it is reasonable to assume that it was written by Zalamea, due to the close friendship between the two intellectuals who had known each other since childhood, and to the critical tone of the article.
In the early 1950s the president of Colombia was the conservative Laureano Gómez (1889–1965), who was also an art critic and staunch defender of classical tradition and Christian morality. The leftist ideas expressed by Vidales, who was also an active communist leader, were anathema to the president, and led to the former’s removal from the public university. This document is a firsthand report on this controversial matter, and is important because it quotes one of the participants in the discussion. It is interesting to see how Vidales defends his historical method against the opposing critique that was based on moral dogma. This document thus provides researchers with sufficient material to ponder the relationship between art and politics in Colombia during the 1950s.