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 1947, the Colombian Jesuit Eduardo Ospina wrote a text entitled “Orientaciones: el desnudo en el arte y en la vida” for the Revista Javeriana of Bogotá. In this article, Ospina investigates the origins of the nude, going back to its historical roots. In addition to this focus, the article tries to analyze the portrayal of the nude as a practice that has permeated different peoples during different periods. Although this theoretician studies the nude in general, his focus fits in with the Catholic Church’s understanding of the human body. In Ospina’s opinion, the body may be a subject of study in the sphere of art, provided that it is considered as an aesthetic theme.
From his platform at the Revista Javeriana of Bogotá, Eduardo Ospina (1891-1965) decided to undertake research that included historical, religious and philosophical elements. His main goal was to disseminate art instruction from the point of view conferred on him by his Catholic education. What is interesting in this text and other articles published by Ospina in the Revista Javeriana is the opportunity to become familiar with the conservative thinking that permeated art in early twentieth-century Colombia. Although the nude was already a recurrent theme in Colombian art, female nudes painted by Débora Arango (1907–2005) and Carlos Correa (1912–85) in the 1940s stirred up a great commotion at the national level of the Catholic Church. While Ospina was a defender of Catholic morals, he wrote articles of this kind in order to establish how religious people could view art in this genre.
Another noteworthy aspect of this article is its concern about art and the relationship between art and education. On certain occasions, Ospina is revealed as a public figure who turns to art as a tool for moralizing, based on his beliefs. In his articles, Ospina explores art as a trade and as expression, but he also attempts to figure out how the art milieu in which it is produced determines what is created. To the writer, it was essential to inform the readers about how religion influenced artists’ decisions. Our awareness of Ospina’s quest allows us to understand that in the mid-twentieth century, Colombian artists were working in the middle of a battlefield. Not only did they have to watch out for the judgments of critics lying in wait for them, but they also had to take into the account the church’s opinion and, sometimes, that of the State, as well.
Eduardo Ospina was an outstanding artist, poet, essayist, critic, aesthete, translator, educator, apologist and social promoter. He was also a member of the Academia Colombiana de la Lengua and a humanist. In addition, he performed significant work as a theoretician, professor and disseminator of art at the Universidad Javeriana. Among his contributions are the articles he published in Revista Javeriana, where he served as director of the Arts Pages from 1934 to 1959.