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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Puerto Rican Art - 1826 words
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Puerto Rican ArtHistorically, Puerto Rico is only 512 years old. The island was discovered on November 19, 1493 by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the New World. On the island he found Taino Indians living there. Juan Ponce de Le'on came to the island in 1508 as its first governor. In 1521, the city of San Juan was established.During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Puerto Rico was attacked by the Dutch and English, Spain's enemies. The island was struggling to attain economical stability by raising cattle and farming on a small scale. By the end of the nineteenth century, Puerto Rico had grown considerably socially, economically, and politically. The C'edula de Gracias of 1815 offered many incentives and advantages the immigrants of the new Latin American republics. Puerto Rico became a sugar exporting colony. After the Spanish-American War in 1898, Puerto Rico was ceded by Spain to the United States
In 1917, Puerto Ricans became U.S. citizens and adopted the Commonwealth state in 1952. Although Puerto Rico is relatively young artistically, it has gone through major cultural changes, first with the Spanish conquest, and then with the United States and other immigrant groups. The artistic production of painters and craftsmen, through these not yet five hundred years, reflect these cultural shocks. Puerto Rico, like the United States, is a land of immigrants.
It is presently in the process of establishing a cultural statement. Because of the diversity of its inhabitants, no statement of a unified artistic expression can be made. In earlier times, the discovery, the colonization period, and later some stability in the nineteenth century, the artistic production was basically unified, that is, it portrayed Puerto Rico through single statements, its people, its vegetation, eminent politicians, religious beliefs, etc. The contemporary artists have expressed their ideas in more complex and stylized ways. This is not saying that the earlier works were primitive or archaic.
It simply means that the times demand different artistic visions of what the Puerto Rican reality is now. Art will provide some explanation and insight into the life and reality of our people.The Taino IndiansThe Taino Indians had been living in Puerto Rico for hundreds of years when the Spaniard conquerors arrived in the fifteenth century. They were a branch of the Arawak people of South America who had migrated to the islands. The Tainos called Puerto Rico, Boriquen or Boringuen, the land of the valiant men. The word Taino means peace and friendship, and they were a peaceful people. Because of the benevolen climate on the island, the Indians lived a leisurely life, farmed, fished and worked on their crafts.
They were skillful in stone sculpture, shell and bone carvings, pottery, and gold plating. The Indians made charms and amulets, ceremonial artifacts, and everyday utensils in clay, cotton, and straw, wood, stone, shells, and bone. Among their stone sculptures are stone collars and belts, cemis, face masks, dujos (duhos), and weapons. Their work was of religious content and is not easily understood. The stone collars could have served a series of purposes, from protective game gear in the batey, a type of ball game the indians played , to funeral offerings.
There were two types of collars, the massive oval or the slender pear-shaped form. The collars were very heavy and it took many years to finish one. The indians also carved cemis out of stone or wood. These three-pointed carvings frequently depict the form of human or animal heads on one end and animal legs on the other, sometimes the head is found in the central projection. At times the cemi is not carved at all, it is simply a three-pointed stone or wood figure.
The cemi was believed to have magical to religious powers. Stone CollarsCemiThe stone face masks that have been found seem to have had ceremonial significance. They may have been carried on a staff or pole because they were too heavy to have been worn. These masks may have had a funeral use or have been exchanged among chiefs. Their overall shape is similar to a cemi because they are also three-pointed stone figures. Face MasksThe petroglyphs or stone pictographs have been found on boulders in rivers or near running water, at ceremonial courts, and in caves.
These carvings are of religious nature and cannot be deciphered. The petroglyphs are highly stylized, but it is obvious that the cemi, the stone collars or belts, and the petroglyphs belong to the same religious concept. Other examples of Indian craftsmanship was in the elaboration of wooden articles. They made idols and thrones or dujos. The dujo was short-legged, made of wood or stone, with carvings at the ends of the hammock-like seat. The dujos were also more of a religious nature than of comfort or practicality, and may have been used in burials or in rituals.
The Taino Indians also enriched language. More than 150 words of Taino root are used in Puerto Rican Spanish today and in other parts of the world. Puerto Rico also inherited from the indians foods and rhythm instruments like the g"uiro and maracas. The construction of rustic wooden huts has been traced to Taino origin. The Art of the Tainos, however, has not influenced greatly the art of Puerto Rico on the whole. Jos'e CampecheDuring the period of colonization not much emphasis was given to the arts.
Time was devoted primarily to developing and establishing of towns and cities. It was well into the eighteenth century that Puerto Rico saw its first artistic genius. Jos'e Campeche was born in 1751. His father was Tom'as Campeche, a Black freeman, and his mother was Mar'ia Jord'an, a Spaniard from the Canary Islands. His father was known as Campeche, and was a master gilder and carver, a painter and ornamentalist, although not exceptionally gifted. His sons learned about art and painting through him.
Campeche was the most gifted of Tomas's children although many of them also painted. Jos'e was also a professional musician, sculptor, architect, surveyor, and decorator. He was a well educated person, a gentleman, and a devoted Catholic. His paintings are classified into five groups: portraits, historic events, religious themes, saints, and mysteries and Marian titles. Some of his paintings are Birth of Christ, Vision of St. Francis of Assissi, Virgin of Mercy, and many versions of the Virgin and Child.
Many of Campeche's paintings are found in churches and in the Cathedral in old San Juan. Campeche also painted on commission. His most notable painting of a public figure is Don Miguel Antonio de Ustariz, who was Governor and Captain General of Puerto Rico from July 8, 1789 to May 19, 1792. In this painting, an open window behind the governor gives the viewer a glimpse into San Juan in its very early years, when the paving of its streets was being done. (A copy of this painting will be available at the Teachers' Institute office).
He painted fine portraits of members of the Puerto Rican society in the late eighteenth century. Campeche's death in 1809 was felt deeply in Puerto Rico. He will always be remembered, however, as Puerto Rico's first native painter. Francisco OllerFrancisco Oller was born in Bayamon in 1833. He is considered the outstanding nineteenth century Puerto Rican painter. Although there were other artists in this century Oller surpassed them all. At 18, Oller went to Madrid, Spain where he studied under Federico de Madrazo, considered to be the outstanding Spanish painter of that period. In 1858, when he was 25, he went to Paris for the first time.
He became the pupil of Thomes Couture and later, Gustave Courbet. He became friends with Paul Cezanne and Camille Pissarro. The artists were all involved in Impressionism, an art movement concerned in light and what it did to color and forms. Oller cannot be considered a true Impressionist because he is also a Realist. His painting, The Student, is a Realist masterpiece. It is believed that it is a painting of Emile Zola and his girlfriend.
Emile Zola was an eminent novelist of the nineteenth century and a friend of Oller's. This painting is found in the Louvre in Paris. It is the only painting by a Latin American in that museum. Although not readily known as an early member of the Impressionist group, Oller exhibited his works of art all over Europe. For many years, Oller would travel to Europe and return to Puerto Rico to live for a few years. While in Puerto Rico, he taught and painted for a living.
The invention of the camera made portraits a luxury, but by this time, Oller painted whatever he wanted. He was in Puerto Rico when the United States took over the island in 1898. He thought things were going to get better but he later felt imprisoned in his own home. Francisco Oller stayed in Puerto Rico because he needed to express his love for his people. Among his paintings with Puerto Rican themes are: La Escuela del Maestro Rafael, El Velorio, Hacienda Aurora, Bodeg'on con Jarra, Mangoes y Mamey, La Ceiba de Ponce, and many portraits of prominent figures of Puerto Rican society.
He did not limit his paintings to only the rich but he also painted scenes of everyday life and made social criticism through his works. He painted tropical still life and landscapes of Puerto Rico true to the color and the time when Oller painted them. In El Velorio, Oller makes a statement of Puerto Rican folklore. The painting depicts a former custom in Puerto Rico of having a festivity after the death of an infant or newborn child. There are over twenty human figures in the painting, men, women, and children, each one a single and composite element in the scene. It is a lively scene and if it had sound to accompany it, it would be a noisy one too.
It would have music, loud talking, animal sounds, etc. The custom no longer exists but Oller's painting serves not only as a social portrait but as a historical one as well. This painting is his monumental work. A copy of this painting will be found in the Institute's Office. Oller established several schools of art and worked as an art instructor for many years. He wrote a history of Jos'e Campeche.
Oller lived a life full of experiences, and his paintings reflect these experiences. Oller was a man true to his feelings and so expressed them in his art. He died on May 17, 1917, at the age of eighty-four. The Early Twentieth CenturyIn the early half of the twentieth century, there where many painters at work despite the unfavorable conditions on the island. Among these were Ram'on Frade, Miguel Pou, Oscar Col'on Delgado and Juan De'Prey. Ram'on Frade was born in 1875 in Cayey.
He was a painter of the life of the Puerto Rican in the twentieth century. His style was Realist. He did not merely paint pictures, he painted portrayals of the life of the campesinos. His masterwork, El Pan Nuestro de Cada Dia (our Dail ...
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