Colombia Arts and Music

By | December 15, 2021


In the early colonial period, military architecture with the strongholds of Cartagena and Santa Marta has particular importance. The Baroque of Andalusian-Castilian derivation is characterized in Colombia by the sumptuous decoration of the interiors; towards the end of the 18th century. the neoclassical taste takes over, especially thanks to the Capuchin Fra Domingo de Pedres; in the nineteenth century the neo-Gothic style prevails. The architecture of the 20th century. has one of its most significant representatives in R. Salmona, author, among other things, in Bogotá of the Marulandia district and of the Residence El Parque.

Painting and sculpture have been linked to the academic tradition since the end of the nineteenth century, from which the painters FA Gonzáles Camargo and A. de Santa María and the sculptor M. Tobón Mejía emerge. After 1930, the so-called Bachué generation (the great Mother of the mythology of the Indians) has particular relevance, which goes back to the pre-Columbian past and popular traditions: A. Acuña, PN Gómez, I. Gómez Jaramillo and the sculptor R. Rozo. Abstract art begins to manifest itself around 1950 thanks to the painter M. Ospina and the painter and sculptor E. Ramírez Villamizar with a geometric abstractionism, while in the sculptures of E. Negret the purely plastic language re-proposes a problem of mythic matrix. The works of A. Villegas and L. Jaramillo belong to a lyrical abstractionism; a contained emotion informs the production of A. Obregon ; elaborate essential researches are conducted by S. Montealegre. The personality of F. Botero prevails in the figurative current. Truly naive is N. León. Researches for a “new figuration” can be found in the works of A. Barrios, S. Cardenas and B. Gonzales. Conceptual experiments characterize the work of A. Caro. Among the periodic events: the Salon (established in 1931; since 1974, Salon nacional de artes visuales) and the Bienal Americana de artes graficas, organized since 1971 by the La Tertulia Museum in Cali.


As with most South American music, Colombian music has suffered from the Spanish colonizing effect, associated with elements of Amerindian and African origin. The most popular instruments are of Spanish origin: in addition to the guitar, other chordophones such as the bondola, the tiple, smaller than the classical guitar, and the requinto. In the coastal areas the gaitas, straight flutes played in pairs, the stringed cuatro and the harp are widespread, on the Pacific coast a complex formed by a large marimba, 2 CUNUNOS (conical drums) and a bumblebee. For Colombia culture and traditions, please check

Cultured music had the first important center of diffusion in the cathedral of Bogotá and its archives still house the most important nucleus of Renaissance and Baroque compositions in the New World. The first important choirmaster was G. Fernandez Hidalgo (ca. 1553-1620). In 1783 the first opera house opened and in 1846 E. Price (1819-1863) founded the Philharmonic Society, which was followed the following year by the establishment of a musical school. The most relevant personalities of the 19th century. were JC Osorio, J. Quevedo Arvelo, JM Ponce de León, author of the first operas composed in the country, Ester and Florinda, JW Price, founder of the National Academy of Music (1882), A. Martínez and S. Cifuentes. Among the most eminent figures of the 20th century: G. Uribe-Holguín, first director of the National Conservatory of Bogotá from 1910 to 1933, J. Bermúdez Silva, E. Murillo, J. Rozo Contreras, Colombia Posada Amadór, A. Mejía and G. Espinosa, founder (1936) and director of the National Symphony Orchestra.

Colombia Arts and Music