Beatriz de la Fuente
Catherine M. Grant
(b Caracas, Venezuela, May 23, 1960).
Venezuelan artist active in the USA. He studied at the Parsons School of Design in New York, graduating in 1983. In his early works he printed enlarged weave patterns onto canvas and other materials, giving a synthetic look to his mock modernist paintings and sculptures, as in Double Single Bed (laminated process inks on canvas and wood with mattresses, 1986; London, Saatchi Gal.). Here it is the title and the print on the rectangular units that gives domestic resonance to the apparently Minimalist form. In a series made in 1990, Vaisman incorporated cartoon imagery into commercial reproductions of medieval tapestries, creating ridiculous, ‘bad taste’ compositions; in one such work, The Crusaders (1990; see 1990 exh. cat.), Mickey Mouse and friends join soldiers as they go into battle. In the mid-1990s he took this idea of humorous juxtaposition further with the Turkey series, for which he dressed up stuffed turkeys in a variety of costumes and skins so that they took hybrid form, presenting cultural identity as only so many options. In ...
(b Villanueva de Barcarrota [now Barcarrota], 1533; d Rome, ?1582).
Spanish missionary, linguist, engraver, and author. Long believed to be the offspring of a Tlaxcaltecan mother and Spanish soldier, evidence now points to Valadés’s birth in Extremadura and immigration to New Spain (Mexico) in 1537. He studied at San José de los Naturales in Mexico City and the College of S. Cruz in Tlatelolco under Pedro de Gante, Juan de Gaona, Francisco Bustamante, and Juan de Folcher. After entering the Franciscan Order, he was missionary to the Chichimeca of northern New Spain. In 1566 he testified in defense of Martín Cortés, Marqués del Valle de Oaxaca, who was then facing charges of treason. By 1572 Valdés was in Spain and, by 1575, was Procurator General of his Order in Rome. While in Europe he published Folcher’s Itinerarium Catholicum (Seville, 1574) and then wrote and published his own magnum opus, Rhetorica Christiana (Perugia, 1579). Illustrated with twenty-seven copper engravings (eight are signed), and dedicated to Pope Gregory XIII, the theological treatise emphasizes memory as the most important component of rhetoric, champions the Franciscan missionary project in New Spain, and stresses the value and use of instructional images for past, present, and future friars. According to the prologue, Valadés hoped his illustrations would serve the illiterate, objectively convey the rites and customs of the indigenous population, and act as mnemonic aids for readers wishing to absorb and recall favorite passages. The best-known engraving depicts an ideal monastery with a large atrium and corner (...
Dolores M. Yonker
(b Port-au-Prince, July 10, 1927; d Port-au-Prince, May 15, 1988).
Haitian painter. He came from a poor family and was forced to leave school after only three years. He began to paint after coming into contact with the Centre d’Art in Port-au-Prince and became a full-time artist as soon as he began to earn enough from his pictures to abandon his work as a tile-setter. He joined the Centre d’Art in 1959. He was a fervent adept of Vodoun, from which he took much of his subject-matter. He was attracted by the life of the countryside, usually situating his ceremonial scenes amid lush tropical foliage. Leaves, rows of tilled earth and the movements of water or human figures all conform to simplified motifs arranged in rhythmic repetition. In his pictures the embodied spirits are provided with symbolic dress and attributes; details of costume and draperies are highly stylized, falling into neatly parallel and rhythmic folds, and hands and faces are conventionalized. Using precisely delineated contours and enamel-like surfaces similar to those of the patterned tiles with which he worked in his youth, he arranged figures in circles, squares or horizontal registers across the picture plane; they have little individuation. With their pure colours and stylized but precise rendering, his pictures sometimes resemble the illuminations of medieval manuscripts....
[Saenz de Santa María, José Marcos]
(b Veracruz, Mexico, April 25, 1738; d Cádiz, Sept 4, 1804).
Spanish priest and patron. He came from a family of hidalgo (noblemen) originally from Rioja, whose wealth derived from trade with South America. After a period articled as a clerk to a foreign trader in Cádiz, the Marqués was ordained a priest in 1761. He spent a short time in Madrid, where he claimed the naked figures on the ceilings of the Palacio Real were too upsetting for him to contemplate, before returning to Cádiz and settling there. His religious life and his artistic patronage became closely linked to the church of Nuestra Señora del Rosario and particularly to a penitential cult conducted in an underground cavern adjacent to the church. The Marqués acquired a plot of land above the cavern, improved it and between 1793 and 1796 built over it a spacious elliptical chapel, designed by the City Architect, Torcuato José de Benjumeda (1757–1836), in the classical style. No expense was spared to enrich the interior with sculpture, paintings, marble and porphyry. Subjects relating to the Mass were depicted in a series of five semicircular paintings for the pendentives and two stucco medallions. ...
Peter W. Stahl and Trent Barnes
Pre-Columbian culture of Ecuador that flourished between c. 4000
Carlos Lastarria Hermosilla
(b Santiago, Sept 9, 1931; d Santiago, May 18, 1993).
Chilean sculptor. He studied at the Escuela de Bellas Artes in Santiago under the Chilean sculptors Julio Antonio Vásquez (b 1900), Lily Garáfulic (1914–2012), and Marta Colvin. He left Chile in 1958 for Spain, France, and Morocco, settling in Spain in 1961 but returning to Chile in 1974 to produce a number of works, including an important commission for the Parque de las Esculturas in Santiago (Bandaged Torso; stone, h. 1.62 m, installed 1989), before leaving again for Spain.
Valdivieso worked in bronze and in stone (granite, limestone, diorite, and basalt). Much of his work was concerned with natural forms, conveyed with a directness of feeling. Approaching mass through a process of gradual abstraction, Valdivieso sought a balance between the visual and tactile qualities of his materials and the meanings implicit to their forms. He often formulated his sculptures first in easily molded, ductile materials, which he then translated into the final work. He particularly favored chrome-plated bronze for its accentuation of the surface with its brilliant finish....
Chilean city. With a population of c. 300,000, it is located on the coast c. 100 km west of Santiago, for which it served as a port for centuries. The city’s shore and hillside areas are connected by tortuous streets and by several funicular railways installed between 1883 and 1914. First reconnoitred by the Spaniard Juan de Saavedra in 1536, Valparaíso was founded in 1544, and it remained a tiny settlement until the commercial expansion of the 19th century. The population rose from c. 5000 in 1800 to 100,000 in 1875, and the port assumed a notably cosmopolitan character with the arrival of numerous foreign merchants. The British, in particular, imprinted a characteristic tone on the business district and on the hillside suburb of Cerro Alegre, where English-style villas proliferated (although few survive). A more traditional Chilean atmosphere prevailed in the Almendral district north along the coast. Urban improvements such as street-paving were initiated in the 1850s. Public buildings constructed during these years include the modestly handsome Intendencia (...
Emily A. Urban
( fl Rome, 1562–90).
Italian painter and cartographer of Lombard birth. Little is known of his early life or career before his first documented commission in Rome in December 1562 for the design of maps in the Terza Loggia of the Vatican Palace for Pope Pius IV. It is unclear whether he came to Rome for this commission or whether it was awarded after his arrival. He worked on this project until September 1565, at which time he also painted a scene of the concluding session of the Council of Trent—his only known figurative work—on the walls of the same loggia. During his career he worked for a variety of prestigious patrons in addition to Pius IV, including Cardinal Alessandro Farnese and Pope Gregory XIII.
Vanosino played a key role in the development of cartography in early modern Italy. The advancement in map-making was largely due to the rediscovery of Ptolemy’s Geographia in 1406...
Susan Fisher Sterling
(b Rio de Janeiro, Nov 11, 1964).
Brazilian painter and photographer. Her works follow an international tendency in early 21st-century art to focus on the body and its politics. In the 1990s Varejão appropriated and remapped a large corpus of Portuguese and Dutch Baroque images and artefacts disseminated during the colonization of Brazil, in order to confront a history of violence and domination, resistance and displacement. Re-using images from old maps, Portuguese azulejos (tin-glazed tiles), Chinese import porcelains, historical scenes by European artists, portraits and early travelogues and colonial histories, Varejão linked the colonial discovery of the New World to the subjugation of indigenous people and the creation of slavery and a global trade empire. This approach reveals ‘the historical molding of the body by religion, by the violent and amorous encounters in the formational process of America, by the politics of gender in regard to women, by the lessons of anatomy from scientific knowledge and art’ (see Herkenhoff, p. 4)....
Margarita González Arredondo
(b Anglés, nr. Girona, Dec 16, 1908; d Mexico City, Oct 8, 1963).
Spanish painter, active in Mexico. She began her studies at the Real Academia de San Fernando in Madrid in 1934 and even in her earliest work showed a tendency to work from the imagination. In 1937, while living in Paris, she married the French poet Benjamin Péret (1899–1959) and through him became involved in the activities of the Surrealists (e.g. The Anatomy Lesson, 1935). The influence of Surrealism is apparent in early works such as Vegetal Puppets (1938; priv. col., see Kaplan 1988, 62), in which the elongated floating figures are formed out of wax dripped onto an unprimed wooden surface. After the occupation of France by Germany, Varo and Péret fled in 1942 to Mexico, where many exiled Surrealists, notably Leonora Carrington and Wolfgang Paalen, were already active.
Varo did not begin to paint full-time until 1953, and her most characteristic work dates from this period. She was greatly influenced by André Breton in her cultivation of dreamlike moods, but she rejected an unswerving reliance on the subconscious in favor of deliberate fantasies. Her painstaking technique suggests a direct debt to medieval art, for example to the Romanesque frescoes of her native Catalonia, especially in the treatment of architectural elements. In typical early works, such as ...
Humberto Rodríguez-Camilloni and Liliana Herrera
(b Braga; d Lima, Aug 22, 1668).
Portuguese architect and engineer, active in Peru. He was educated in the Renaissance humanist tradition, studying philosophy, theology, mathematics, cosmography, perspective, and architecture after Vitruvius. Vasconcelos went to the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru in 1629 with Don Hernando de Vera y Zúñiga, Archbishop of Santo Domingo, who had been transferred to a new seat in Cuzco. To celebrate the arrival of the new archbishop, in 1630 Vasconcelos designed a gold medal, which was sent to Spain. He then worked as an engineer in mines at Oruro, Potosí, and Huancavelica. Vasconcelos took part as a cosmographer and military engineer in the 1645 expedition to Valdivia in Chile, where he drew a topographical map of the port and a design for its fortifications. His architectural masterpiece was the church of S Francisco (1657–74), Lima, largely built under the supervision of his assistant Manuel de Escobar (1639–93). Here Vasconcelos employed the ...
(b Porlamar, Aug 29, 1927).
Venezuelan painter and teacher. He studied from 1943 to 1947 at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas in Caracas, where he then taught from 1947 to 1973. His painting, which evolved from Cubism through geometric abstraction to lyrical landscape painting, shows his attraction to coastal light and to open spaces. The colours are limited to shades of blue, green, grey and white. Vásquez Brito represented Venezuela in the 31st Venice Biennale in ...
(b Guatemala City, Nov 2, 1922; d 1999).
Guatemalan sculptor and painter. After studying at the Academia de Bellas Artes in Guatemala City (1937–44), he received a grant that enabled him to continue his studies from 1945 to 1949 at the Escuela de Artes Aplicadas of the Universidad de Chile in Santiago, Chile. He was part of a generation of artists who revitalized art in Guatemala after World War II; like Guillermo Grajeda Mena, Roberto González-Goyri and, later, Efraín Recinos, he was associated with the efforts of several architects to integrate the arts in their new buildings.
As both a sculptor and a painter Vásquez maintained a consistent artistic line without obvious changes, achieving a personal synthesis of expressionism and abstraction with a great simplicity of form. His sculptures were made of a variety of materials, including marble, bronze, clay, sheet brass, wood and concrete. Among his most important works, all in Guatemala City, are the ...
(b Ronda, c. 1565; d Mexico City, c. 1608).
Spanish painter. He probably trained either with Luis de Vargas or with his pupil Antonio de Arjián in Seville, where Vázquez worked from 1588 until his departure for New Spain in 1603. Influenced by the work of northern Renaissance masters such as Marten de Vos and Maarten van Heemskerck, Vázquez’s art is a good example of late 16th-century Mannerism in Seville. The sculpturesque quality of his forms, interest in detail and taste for exaggerated gestures and contorted poses reflect both Italian and Flemish influences. Vázquez earned a reputation for his virtuoso treatment of still-lifes in his paintings, as in Lazarus and the Rich Man (1588–1603; untraced, see Brown, p. 131), painted for Fernando Enríquez de Ribera, 3rd Duque de Alcalá. The Last Supper (1588–1603; Seville, Mus. B.A.) combines Flemish motifs taken from prints by or after van Heemskerck and de Vos. The theatrical composition contains still-life objects depicted with great care and attention to detail. Vázquez’s earliest dated work, the ...
(b Cuenca, June 13, 1938).
Ecuadorean ceramicist and designer. He studied from 1958 to 1960 at the Real Academia de S Fernando and in the studio of Eduardo Peña in Madrid. He attended the Brixton School of Building, London, from 1960 to 1961 and went on to study ceramics at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts et des Arts Appliqués à l’Industrie in Bourges with Jean Lerat and Jacqueline Lerat between 1967 and 1968. On returning to Cuenca, a region with a strong pottery tradition, he created one of his most outstanding murals, the Land of El Dorado (1969; Cuenca, Hotel El Dorado). At the time he was the only artist in the country extensively involved in producing ceramic murals. His large-format works, in terracotta and decorated with slip, emphasize volume by creating sharp contrasts of light and shade. His depiction of tropical abundance and of historical and mythical characters and other stylized local details combine to produce optical labyrinths. By incorporating international styles his works bring together the vocabulary of Pre-Columbian ceramics and 20th-century pottery to create a very personal language. In ...
(b Buenos Aires, Mar 27, 1930; d Buenos Aires, Aug 26, 1971).
Argentine painter. He studied architecture for six years before devoting himself to painting. His first works were sensitive geometric abstractions. In 1961 he took part in the exhibition Otra figuración at the Galería Peuser in Buenos Aires with Ernesto Deira, Rómulo Macció, and Luis Felipe Noé, working in a style derived from the Cobra group; this was a milestone in the renewal of Argentine figurative painting. The Surrealist elements visible in his early work disappeared during the two years (1965–1967) that he lived in the USA, first to teach painting at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, and then on a Fulbright fellowship. On his return to Argentina he began to paint psychologically penetrating pictures of male and female faces and body parts, such as Jigsaw Puzzle (1967; see Glusberg 1985, 76), in a bold graphic style reminiscent of poster designs. Capturing expressions full of feeling and emotion but picturing them in a style at once ironic and dramatic, de la Vega wanted his art to be as natural and free from limitations as life itself. During the last years of his life he also wrote and sang popular protest songs....
(b Temascalcingo, July 6, 1840; d Mexico City, Aug 27, 1912).
Mexican painter and teacher. As a landscape painter he was the most representative figure of Mexican academic painting in the 19th century. He produced a large body of work, in which the main theme was the spectacular natural scenery of his own country, interpreted according to his own singular vision. Stylistic unity and meticulously high standards of production characterize his work.
Velasco was from a small village in the provinces and from a family with no artistic tradition, but he began attending evening drawing classes at the Academia de Bellas Artes de S Carlos in Mexico City in 1858. He worked briefly in the studio of the Catalan painter Pelagrín Clavé but felt unhappy with the style imposed on him and completed his training from 1860 in the studio of Eugenio Landesio. Landesio’s method lay in the faithful representation of nature, in careful drawing, in a thorough knowledge of colouring technique and above all in perspective. Velasco assimilated all that Landesio taught him, eventually surpassing him but without losing the classical composition, measured colour, accurate drawing and absence of drama with which his academic training had imbued him: he never painted a storm in his landscapes....
(b Cuenca, July 1829; d Cuenca, Dec 1, 1892).
Ecuadorean sculptor. He received his training in the workshop of the Cuencan painter Eusebio Alarcón (fl 1835–64). From a young age he was interested in polychromed wood-carving on religious themes, a medium that was greatly esteemed by the Quito school during the colonial period. Vélez, however, transformed the former Baroque language into Neo-classicism, inspired by imported examples and incorporating the academic teachings brought so late into Ecuador. Especially worthy of mention are his Crucifixes (e.g. Holy Christ; church of Señor de las Aguas, Girón, Azuay), as well as his images of the Infant Christ and Calvary, which were sought by collectors, religious communities and museums throughout the country. Together with Gaspar de Sangurima (1787–fl 1833), his disciple Daniel Alvarado (c. 1867–1953) and other local engravers, Vélez managed to make Cuenca the most important centre of 19th-century sculpture in the country. His portraiture was also significant, and he created a series of busts of public figures in wood and marble, including that of the celebrated Franciscan journalist ...