This is the second and final contribution of Colombian editor and critic Baldomero Sanín Cano (1861–1957) to the controversy surrounding the art exhibition organized by the Escuela de Bellas Artes of Bogotá, Colombia, in 1904, featuring the work of Colombian artist Andrés de Santamaría (1860–1945). Key to the processes by which art criticism took shape in Colombia, this polemic not only established the basis for appreciation of Andrés de Santamaría’s work (which was almost always associated with Impressionism and post-Impressionism) but also proved pivotal to art historiography in Colombia, formulating the periodization of “national art” in conjunction with early 20th-century European avant-garde movements.
Here, Sanín Cano is implicitly responding to the assessment of de Santamaría’s work offered by poet Maximiliano Grillo, also known as Max Grillo (1868–1949). Grillo believed that de Santamaría’s art lacked “emotion” as it redefined the various functions of drawings in a painting’s overall structure.
Sanín Cano, a key intellectual in Latin American literary Modernism, firmly defends de Santamaría who, like Sanín Cano himself, had been asked by Colombian president Alfonso Reyes to take an active part in his administration, which was in power from 1904 to 1909.
As historian Álvaro Medina (born 1942) asserts in his book Procesos del arte en Colombia, de Santamaría, as director of the Escuela de Bellas Artes of Bogotá from 1904 to 1911, established an anti-academic tendency in art that constituted the beginning of the history of Modern art in Colombia.
This article is attributed to Sanín Cano in the index of authors that the Revista Contemporánea, in which it appeared, published in its volume No. 6 (March 1905).