Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art Home


Document first page thumbnail
  • ICAA Record ID
    Revisión histórico-crítica del dibujo en Venezuela / Roldán Esteva-Grillet
    El dibujo en Venezuela : Estudio y antologia de textos. -- Caracas, Venezuela : FUNDARTE / Alcaldía de Caracas, 1992
    p. 7-34
    Book/pamphlet article – Essays
    Esteva Grillet, Roldán. "Revisión histórico- crítica del dibujo en Venezuela." In El dibujo en Venezuela: Estudio y antología de textos, 7- 34. Caracas, Venezuela: FUNDARTE/ Alcaldía de Caracas, 1992.

In this text, researcher Roldán Esteva-Grillet writes about the history of drawing in Venezuela from the pre-Hispanic era through the end of the 20th century. He begins by describing the practice of drawing in ancient indigenous cultures in Venezuela and goes on to explain the rise of both technical drawing with the birth of urban cartography and of artisanal religious drawing during the colonial period. Esteva-Grillet explains that artists who worked in drawing in the 19th Century followed academic parameters as they represented important historical events and rendered scientifically the flora and fauna. Finally, the author addresses the events that, with the onset of modernism, led to recognition of drawing as a genre independent of painting and sculpture, discussing specifically the drawing “boom” in Venezuela in the late seventies.


This essay by researcher Roldán Esteva-Grillet (b. 1946) is a thorough analysis of the history of drawing in Venezuela. The author provides valuable information about not only the artistic context, but also the political and socio-economic situation during the periods discussed. He uses a wide range of bibliographic sources, including newspaper articles, and cites renowned contemporary art critics from Venezuela, at times disputing their affirmations and at times expanding on the information they have provided. Esteva-Grillet’s ability to synthesize is striking; his research on drawing in Venezuela has provided specific information, especially about the 20th century. In this text, Esteva-Grillet recognizes the crisis facing art schools and the decline of painting medium as opposed to the uptrend of centers for the study of graphic arts, where the image prevails. This, along with the rise of “the conceptual” in art, meant that the seventies were an important moment in the history of drawing in Venezuela.


This study is the introduction to an anthology of texts on drawing in Venezuela. While early indigenous drawing is the starting point of the author’s chronological overview of drawing, that does not mean that current indigenous cultures left behind this technique.

Maria Virginia Pineda Aranda
Fundación Mercantil, Caracas, Venezuela
Reproduced with permission of Roldán Esteva-Grillet, Caracas, Venezuela
Biblioteca Roldán Esteva-Grillet, Caracas