"Actas de los jurados de calificación : República de Colombia : Bogotá, Febrero 18 de 1887." Anales de la Instrucción Pública de la República de Colombia (Bogotá, Colombia), vol. 10 (1887): 282- 296.
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This document brings together a group of minutes and reports pertinent to the awarding of prizes at the Primera Exposición Anual of the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes of Colombia, held on that institution’s premises (San Bartolomé building) from December 4, 1886 to February 20, 1887. The text mentions the leading players of the Bogotá art scene of the time—individuals who assessed the works as well as participants in the competition and art collectors—and the interventions of the government authorities involved in organizing the event. It also attests to which fields were considered fine arts in Colombia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Together, these minutes and reports contain an assessment of the most important group show held in Colombia in the late 19th century. The document acknowledges and legitimizes government authorities active in the sphere of art. It defines which individuals were deemed worthy of being called “fine artists.” The text also demonstrates ties between political, civil, religious, and military elites, on the one hand, and professional artists and art educators, on the other. This document should be read in conjunction with the article on the closing of the Primera Exposición Anual of the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes of Colombia [“Clausura de la 1ª exposición anual de la] Escuela de Bellas Artes”, see doc. no. 1132356].
This document describes the canonical foreign works to serve as models for the new generation of artists. It acknowledges General Alberto Urdaneta (1845-1887) as a man with the disposition and attitude, as well as the inventiveness and talent, to be expected of a modern artist. Specific mention is made of his efforts to build a symbolic history of the country by founding the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes of Colombia and by publishing Papel Periódico Ilustrado (1881-1888). The life of Urdaneta, a painter and draftsman, is seen as exemplary of a modern artist. He was not only immersed in art collections, but also versed in politics, business, warfare, and fine art administration.
The text also mentions collections of European works belonging to General Urdaneta (369 objects), critic and photographer Pedro Carlos Manrique (1860–1927), and Leopoldo Tanco.
The document mentions the names of those in charge of instruction in wood engraving, gouache, architectural drawing, sculpture, and oil painting. It indicates the areas of art practiced by the female artists in the exhibition, all of whom were members of high-society families from Bogotá. These women were not considered “artists” and, hence, their works were prudently exhibited in a separate section. It was considered a virtue of “the fair sex” to engage in some artistic pursuit.