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In the opinion of the artist and art critic, Roberto Pizano, the trip undertaken by the artists, Ricardo Gómez Campuzano and Domingo Moreno Otero, to Spain was an opportunity to take advantage of the Spanish art culture. However, Pizano thinks they have not taken advantage of that opportunity. Referring to some drawings and photographs (sent by the artists), he argues that Gómez Campuzano prefers the simplicity of the portrait and the human figure to the landscape, especially when it comes to national themes the writer considers to be the artist’s strength. Pizano believes that Gómez Campuzano should come back to Colombia to paint local landscapes in order to escape the danger of the simplistic art trends (mainly Cubism and Futurism), which are getting in the way of his talent. He recommends that the artist return to Europe later to exhibit his work. While the article does not go into much depth about Moreno Otero, Pizano would like this artist to break out of the monotony that characterized his work to a certain extent while he was in Colombia.


This article shows how, for the generation of Colombian artists of the 1920s, the trip to Spain had become a sine qua non in a painter’s studies. In a Europe damaged by war, with avant-garde art in ascendance, the Iberian Peninsula remained neutral. Institutions such as the Academia de San Fernando [San Fernando Academy], in Madrid, offered students from the Escuela de Bellas Artes [School of Fine Arts] in Bogotá the chance to travel, with scholarships, to study art in further depth abroad. That is why the influence of Spanish art on the Colombian art of that decade was so great, and the sources of learning—the art museums of Spain, Germany and the Netherlands—were a secure refuge from the influence of the avant-garde. The teachers, Ignacio Zuloaga, Joaquín Sorolla and Julio Romero de Torres, bequeathed to their students from Colombia a modernity in which technique and academicism still prevailed. This is why the writer looks for “what is national” in local figures and customs; however, the bucolic and the landscape are these artists’ main referents.  


In this regard, the emphasis placed by Roberto Pizano (1896–1930) on the artistic richness of Spain is understandable. The Colombian artist and art critic makes the case for taking advantage of the Spanish opportunity since he too traveled and did his studies in Spain. Undoubtedly, his relationship with Spanish art left its mark on his painting, influencing his ideas about “an art of one’s own” based on vernacular traditions.


The history of art of that time groups the artists of the period under the heading of españolería. In addition to Pizano, the list includes Ricardo Gómez Campuzano, Domingo Moreno Otero, Coriolano Leudo (1886–1957), and Miguel Díaz Vargas (1886–1956).


This theme was treated specifically by two scholars. One was the Colombian art historian and critic, Álvaro Medina (b. 1942), who wrote the chapter, “El Círculo de Bellas Artes y la españolería” [The Fine Arts Milieu and Españolería] in the book, Procesos del arte en Colombia [Art Processes in Colombia] (Bogotá: Colcultura, 1978). The second was the sociologist, Ruth Acuña in her article, “El viaje a España y la mirada del artista” [The Trip to Spain and the Artist’s Gaze] in the catalog, Miguel Díaz Vargas: una modernidad invisible [Miguel Díaz Vargas: An Invisible Modernity] (Bogotá: Fundación Gilberto Alzate Avendaño, 2008), which supplied the main references for these notes.

Luisa Fernanda Ordóñez
Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia
Courtesy of Inversiones Cromos S.A - Revista Cromos, Bogotá, Colombia