Venezuela Arts and Music

By | December 16, 2021


For the violent earthquakes and for the demolitions carried out since the end of the 19th century. to renew the appearance of the cities, in particular of Caracas, there are few testimonies of the colonial period. Among these, the cathedral of Coro (begun in 1589); in Caracas, S. Francisco (1593, rebuilt in the mid-18th century) and the cathedral (renovated after the earthquake of 1641); the ruins of the imposing fortresses on the Araya Peninsula and Margarita Island and some typical houses with patios (house of the Real Compañía Guipuzcoana in La Guaira, houses in Coro). In Caracas, after independence (1821), particular achievements are due, in forms ranging from baroque to neoclassical, to L. Urdaneda (Palacio Legislativo, 1872; Palacio Federal, 1877, with R. García) and to J. Hurtado Manrique, who he adopted neo-Gothic ways (facade of the university, 1876; Museo Nacional, 1883; Santa Capilla, 1883), neoclassical (S. Teresa, 1876), neocolonial (Casa Amarilla de la Cancillería, 1891). The Municipal Theater, inspired by the Opéra di Paris, was built (1890) by A. Malaussena. At the turn of the century, the Catalan J. Salas introduced modernist elements. With CR Villanueva, since 1936, there are original interpretations of the so-called modern movement, which has among its most significant exponents of the next generation C. Gómez de Llarenas, author of the Teresa Careño Theater (1983), and E. Sisco, author of the Parque central residential complex (1983, with D. Fernández Shaw). For Venezuela society, please check

● In the figurative arts, the local tradition, dedicated to sacred subjects and portraiture, was enriched during the 19th century. also by the presence of traveling artists, such as the English LB Adams or the Danish FG Melbye. J. Lovera portrayed the heroes of independence, M. Tovar y Tovar its highlights; A. Michelena, trained in Paris, painted religious and historical themes; C. Rojas also dealt with realistic themes; T. Salas was among the first to approach Impressionism. The Circulo de bellas artes (1912) took anti-academic positions; in 1936 the Academy was transformed into Escuela de artes plásticas y artes aplicadas. Among the most significant personalities of the first half of the century are A. Reveron and R. Monasterios and in the second half H. Poleo, close to surrealism, O. Vigas, who is inspired by the pre-Columbian world, M. Pardo, exponent of abstractionism; in the graphics, L. Palacios. In the second half of the century the Italian P. Gasparini, who works with photography, M. von Dangel, J. Pacheco emerged; A. Otero, JR Soto and C. Cruz-Diez have international fame for their optical-kinetic research. The abstract constructivist researches of artists such as C. González Bogen and the kinetic ones dominating in the 1970s contributed to a tension towards a modernity based on the assumption of geometric design. In contrast to these trends, M. Abreu proposed the assembly of different objects, as fetishes. Before the economic collapse of 1983, industrial materials, performances, installations reigned, but at the same time the figurative painting of M. Römer emerged while the theme of the native landscape persisted, of great importance in the twentieth century so as to create a real school to which the painter T. Casanova is connected. Since the end of the 20th century, an intellectual reflection has been the basis of the research of Venezuela Lucena; R. Peña fixes a critical look on economic and social aspects.

● The production in the field of sculpture has been rich: the experimental works of Gego (Gertrudis Goldschmidt), M. Berman, L. Chacón, L. Bermúdez, P. Barreto, C. Delozanne, M. Pedemonte, H. Abend, A. Collie and the figurative ones of C. Zitman and C. Prada.


The most characteristic note of the Amerindian heritage that survived the colonial influences is the richness and variety of the instruments, used solo and in groups, not only as an accompaniment to singing. These include numerous types of flute, the bandola, chordophone played with a plectrum, the criolla harp and the musical bow (carángano). The most popular idiophone is the maraca. The melodic organization of the songs, mainly monodic, shows the existence of a considerable number of scalar structures, but the most frequent is the pentaphonic one. Some songs, linked to magical rites, last for hours and are characterized by the repetition of meaningless syllables and ritual phrases. ● A tradition of ‘cultured music’ developed from the 16th century on. and had a particular flowering in the 18th century. with the group of composers known as the Chacao School, whose most illustrious exponent was JA Lamas. In 1877 a music academy was established in Caracas. The most famous Venezuelan composer of the time was R. Hahn. In the 20th century. cultured music experienced a strong impetus thanks to the foundation of the National School of Music and, in the 1960s, of the Caracas Electronic Music Laboratory. In modern musical life, the indigenous layer was superimposed on the so-called ‘half-blood’ and the city layer. In particular, popular music in large cities highlights the influences of jazz and Afro-Cuban music. ● For Spanish-American literary production ➔ , literature.

Venezuela Arts and Music