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.
The book Guía de la primera exposición anual organizada bajo la dirección del rector de dicha escuela, General Alberto Urdaneta (1886) features a collection of the works assembled for the 1886 exhibition. These works were gathered by Urdaneta, himself an artist and arts manager, at the Colegio de San Bartolomé in Bogotá, to be exhibited at the Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes of 1886. The book, which includes information important for the history of curated exhibitions, museography and art collecting in Colombia, has the same subdivisions as the exhibition rooms: (i) “Galería antigua” [Gallery of Old Art]; (ii) “Galería de autores modernos” [Gallery of Modern Artists]; (iii) “Galería de autores antiguos” [Gallery of Old Masters]; (iv) “Salón de señoras y señoritas expositoras” [Exhibition Room for Artwork by Ladies and Young Ladies]; (v) “Salón de pinturas a la aguada” [Watercolors Salon]; (vi) “Salón de dibujos al carbón y lápiz” [Pen and Ink Drawing Salon]; (vii) “Galería de autores contemporáneos” [Gallery of Contemporary Artists]; (viii) “Salón del claustro norte” [North Cloister Salon]; and (ix) “Vidrieras” [Stained Glass]. The second part of the book describes the sections into which the Escuela de Bellas Artes of Bogotá was divided in its first year of operations: architecture, sculpture, ornamentation, drawing, wash drawing, painting and woodcut. It is particularly interesting to find out how Modern art was understood in the “Galería de autores modernos.” This gallery included a series of commissioned portraits rendered by painters associated with the late nineteenth century French Academy, as well as works that are religious by nature and contemporary copies of old artworks.
The book Guía de la primera exposición anual organizada bajo la dirección del rector de dicha escuela, General Alberto Urdaneta (1886) was the first to be published about art exhibitions in Colombia. It may be the most important primary source for the history of art collecting, curatorship and museography in Colombia in the late nineteenth century. It reviews and classifies the artworks shown at the first Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes, organized that year by Alberto Urdaneta (1845-87), founder of the Escuela de Bellas Artes de Bogotá (opened to the public in 1886) and the publication called Papel Periódico Ilustrado (1881–88). According to many writers, the 1880s were a key time in the history of Colombian culture and politics. The year 1886 marked the start of a period of conservative domination known as the “Hegemonía Conservadora” [Conservative Hegemony], which would extend to 1930. It was also the year of the founding of Colombia’s first art school (Escuela de Bellas Artes de Bogotá), conceived as a “neutral” space within the ideological struggles of the time. It was in this school where the first Modern art approach in the nation was established [consider the points of view presented in the book written by the group Taller Historia Crítica del Arte, entitled Miguel Díaz Vargas: una modernidad invisible (Bogotá: Fundación Gilberto Alzate Avendaño, 2008)]. Similarly, according to Ruth Acuña Prieto, a sociologist who studied Colombian culture, the Papel Periódico Ilustrado, one of Urdaneta’s other undertakings, would mark the launch of the field of art in Colombia. To follow this idea, we must understand “field” in the terms of the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu. [See the unpublished master’s thesis of Ruth Acuña Prieto under the title of El ‘Papel Periódico Ilustrado’ y la génesis de la configuración del campo artístico en Colombia (Bogotá: Facultad de Ciencias Humanas, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 2002).] Undoubtedly, the catalogue of the Exposición de Bellas Artes of 1886 is a fundamental document. It is essential for a true understanding of this decade of radical changes, complexities and tensions in the national political and cultural spheres in Colombia.