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Roberto Pontual

(b Paris, April 18, 1768; d Paris, June 28, 1848).

French painter and draughtsman, active in Brazil. When very young he accompanied his cousin, Jacques-Louis David, on a trip to Italy from which he returned in 1785. He then enrolled in the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in Paris, initially following parallel studies in civil engineering but soon devoting himself to painting. Between 1798 and 1814 he entered several of the annual Paris Salons with historical or allegorical paintings, Neo-classical in both spirit and form, for instance Napoleon Decorating a Russian Soldier at Tilsit (1808; Versailles, Château). He also collaborated at this time with the architects Charles Percier and Pierre-François Fontaine on decorative works. With the fall of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte I, whom he greatly admired, he agreed to take part in the French artistic mission which left for Brazil in 1816. He stayed there longer than the rest of the group, returning to France only in ...

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Mónica Martí Cotarelo

(b Alava, Spain, 1810; d Mexico City, 1872).

Spanish architect, painter and teacher, active in Mexico. He graduated as an architect from the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de S Fernando, Madrid, but also worked in painting, sculpture and pastel miniatures. In 1836 he worked in Paris under Henri Labrouste, and in 1838 he went to Mexico City, where he opened a school of drawing. As one of the outstanding architects in Mexico at the time, he was made an académico de mérito of the Academia de S Carlos and its director of architecture. His chief work was the Teatro de Santa Anna (1842–4; later Teatro Nacional; destr. 1901), Mexico City, a Neo-classical building that was for a long time the most costly in the city. The principal façade had a portico with four large Corinthian columns rising through two storeys. He also rebuilt the dome (1845–8) of the side chapel of the church of S Teresa la Antigua, Mexico City. His solution was a Neo-classical dome supported by a double drum, producing interesting light effects in the interior. The windows of the upper drum, concealed by an incomplete vault rising from the lower one, illuminate paintings around the bottom of the dome. Few of his other works have survived....

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Roberto Pontual

(Ferreira )

(b Rio de Janeiro, 1923; d Rio de Janeiro, 1973).

Brazilian painter, draughtsman and teacher. While studying engraving in 1946 with the Austrian Axel Leskoschek (b 1889) in Rio de Janeiro he worked in a figurative style but soon became one of the pioneers of concrete art in Brazil. In 1951 he was named best young national painter at the first São Paulo Biennale for his geometric constructions such as Formas (1951; U. São Paulo, Mus. A. Contemp.). He was the founder and prime mover of the Frente group of geometric artists in Rio de Janeiro. A trip to Italy and Spain awarded to him by the Salão Nacional de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro, in 1957 led him first to a freer abstraction and subsequently to a type of Art informel that developed on his return to Brazil into an expressive and referential style similar to Cobra. His Animals and Darkness series of paintings and drawings (...

Article

Ramón Gutiérrez

(b Enguera, Valencia, 1757; d Mexico City, Dec 24, 1816).

Spanish architect, sculptor, and teacher, active in Mexico. He studied at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de S Carlos, Valencia, at a time when Baroque forms were being rejected in Spain and Neo-classicism was being promoted. He was apprenticed to the sculptor José Puchol Rubio (d 1797), who also taught him extensively about architecture. In 1780 Tolsá moved to Madrid, where he studied under Juan Pascual de Mena and at the Real Academia de Bellas-Artes de S Fernando, where his subjects included painting. There he also designed several reliefs, including the Entry of the Catholic Kings into Granada (1784; Madrid, Real Acad. S Fernando). He was selected as an academician in 1789.

Following the endorsement of Juan Adán and Manuel Francisco Alvarez de la Peña, in 1790 Tolsá succeeded José Arias (c. 1743–88) as director of sculpture at the Real Academia de S Carlos de la Nueva España in Mexico City. He took with him a collection of plaster casts for sculptures, many books, and 154 quintals (7 tonnes) of plaster for the Academia. He arrived in ...