Good taste and Classicism in Late XIX Century Latin America.

Editores: Paul B. Niell, Ph.D. and Stacie G. Widdifield, Ph.D.

Institución: University of North Texas.

Publicación: University of New Mexico.

Articulo: Classic outside classics.

Autora: Carla Bocchetti, PhD University of Warwick UK. Profesora Asistente Universidad del Rosario, Colombia.

Abstrac: 

Good taste and Classicism in Late XIX Century Latin America.

«Classical influence in Colombia has been traditionally associated with conservatism (i.e. Miguel Antonio Caro and the political constitution of 1886). However, there are no studies which associate the legacy of Greece and Rome with the neoclassical movement in Latin America in broader terms, which implies a development of cities as major urban centers with public spaces such as boulevars, parks, fountains, statues, museums, the creation of national academies and banks.

Asi es Cartagena de Indias, Parque Centenario, Cartagena de Indias Fotografía: Andres Lejona. Ediciones gamma, Bogotá. Colombia, pp 112, 1998

Asi es Cartagena de Indias, Parque Centenario, Cartagena de Indias
Fotografía: Andres Lejona. Ediciones gamma, Bogotá. Colombia, pp 112, 1998.

The cultural context which come from theories of colonization, and other discourses on peripheries, domination and imperialism, are part of the argument to explore the classical discourse interpreted as a product of mass consumption of “the civilized” as opposed to “the barbarian”. I will explore the new faces and colors of classicism in Latin America, and it uses for the shaping of new political bodies and cultural identities. The neoclassical legacy in Latin America is part of an authentic Greek and Roman imaginarium of self construction, which challenge the “genuine” European tradition.

This paper focuses on the statues which decorate Parque Centenario in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia (three female figures in marble at the top of an arch representing labours), and the statues of the muses which decorates Teatro Heredia´s concert hall (four female statues in marble representing the arts), and I will argue that this visual experience through public monuments highlights the new civic identity of progress and buen gusto.

Through the uses of classical motifs, creole elites wanted to represent an idea of being at the “center”, but in reality they mixed these forms and contents with local tastes and, therefore it became a new language to express local identities. Classic outside classics open up the debate of center-periphery dialectic, and of that of cosmopolitanism. I will use the essay by Vergara and Vergara “Las tres Tazas” to give account of the cultural changes which represent social gatherings for drinking coffee, tea or chocolate, interwoven with classical references. Also, through prints I will show how the classical influence served to create a new establishment in Latin America, different from that of the European tradition.

Postal conmemorativa del Parque Centenario, Cartagena de Indias, en 1910. Cortesia de Casa Tierra Firme.

Postal conmemorativa del Parque Centenario, Cartagena de Indias, en 1910. Cortesia de Casa Tierra Firme.

Nineteen Century Neoclassicism was a trend in which new Latin American republics took shape and entered Modernity, it was a movement with a great force towards exteriority and public life, as opposed to the close private life, typical of colonial times. Neoclassicism was not only related with architecture, but also with ideas of progress in which a national identity and a new sense of belonging was built. Creole elites used classical reference as part of an effort to claim power and authenticity as recipients of a legacy of antiquity, as if those monuments were new and genuine Greece and Rome in another geographical location. They claim prestige but also they were trying to situate themselves in an international scenario of foreign influences, and within the social dynamics of buen gusto».

Deja una respuesta

Introduce tus datos o haz clic en un icono para iniciar sesión:

Logo de WordPress.com

Estás comentando usando tu cuenta de WordPress.com. Salir /  Cambiar )

Imagen de Twitter

Estás comentando usando tu cuenta de Twitter. Salir /  Cambiar )

Foto de Facebook

Estás comentando usando tu cuenta de Facebook. Salir /  Cambiar )

Conectando a %s