This text by the art historian Sir John Rothenstein (1901−92) was originally published on April 9, 1961, in The Sunday Times of London as “A city of all the art in Venezuela.” Subsequently, on April 25 (of the same year) Isaac Chocrón translated the article into Spanish for the Caracas-based daily El Nacional. Years later, in 1972, the text was reproduced in the magazine Punto (no. 46), published by the faculty of the department of Architecture and Urbanism of the Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV). The text is quoted by Sibyl Moholy-Nagy in her book, Carlos Raúl Villanueva y la arquitectura de Venezuela (1964), and by Juan Calzadilla in his essay, “La Ciudad Universitaria, un ensayo de integración de las artes”(1966).
Fundamental to the study and process of artistic integration, as proposed by the Venezuelan architect Carlos Raúl Villanueva (1900−75), this is one of the first texts published abroad on the project. Rothenstein considered Caracas’ Ciudad Universitaria as one of the few stylistically coherent monuments erected within the relative disorder of architectural styles of the Venezuelan capital where ostentatious buildings were prevalent. In his opinion, Villanueva, unlike the vast majority of contemporary architects (including Frank Lloyd Wright), did not despise any of the other arts (painting, sculpture, mosaic, and stained glass). On the contrary, he fully integrated them into his architectural design. Sir Rothenstein applauds abstract art (which he considers less satisfactory when isolated) and finally finds a deeper meaning by integrating diverse architectural styles. Ultimately, the author celebrates that despite being markedly different, the government of Venezuela has given continuity to a project of such magnitude and importance.
For complementary reading on this topic, see in the ICAA digital archive by Villanueva, the architect himself on “the integration of the arts,” “La síntesis de las Artes” (864335); the text by Guillermo Meneses “Los artistas extranjeros de la Ciudad Universitaria de Caracas” (1060120); the article by Guillermo de Torre “Ciudades Universitarias México y Caracas (1172362); the study by Sibyl Moholy-Nagy “Villanueva and the uses of arts: The integration of painting and sculpture in his architecture constitutes a unique achievement of our period” (1172346); the essay by Antonio Muiño Loureda “Ciudad Universitaria de Caracas. Una síntesis de las artes plásticas” (864275); the essay by Victor Vasarely “Un sueño hecho realidad” (1172298); and finally, the text by Luis Navarro “Pintura y escultura en la Ciudad Universitaria de Caracas” (864255).