According to the Colombian writer, poet, dramatist, and essayist Jorge Zalamea (1905–1969), the most accomplished painter of his generation was Ignacio Gómez Jaramillo (1910–1970), whose work Zalamea discusses and praises unreservedly in this article. This praise for Gómez Jaramillo’s work is unusual if we remember that as a critic, Zalamea was incisive and little given to indulgence. This was also true in the case of young painters and sculptors who worked within the modernist parameters that he sought to promote.
Zalamea was one of the most brilliant art critics of the period. He reviewed the work of Colombian artists of his generation, such as Gómez Jaramillo, Sergio Trujillo Magnenat (1911–1999), Pedro Nel Gómez (1899–1984), Gonzalo Ariza (1912–1995), Ramón Barba (1894–1964), Carlos Reyes, Josefina Albarracín (1910?1997), José Domingo Rodríguez (1895–1968), and Luis Alberto Acuña (1904–1984) in articles he compiled in the book Nueve Artistas Colombianos [Nine Colombian Artists] (1941). The title of this document, “Clasicismo, romanticismo y academicismo” [Classicism, Romanticism, and Academicism] is taken from that book; it is a bibliographic reference for a key aspect of the research required for the period in question.
In the essay published in Pan magazine, Zalamea is shown in a pen and ink portrait drawn by Gómez Jaramillo, who is also shown in a photograph taken in his studio. During the Alfonso López Pumarejo (1886–1959) administration, Zalamea was appointed minister of education and, subsequently, secretary general to the president. In the 1940s, Zalamea was a diplomat, representing Colombia in Mexico City. In 1965, he won the essay prize awarded by Casa de las Américas in Havana with La poesía ignorada y olvidada [Ignored and Forgotten Poetry] (1966).