The artist Aníbal Gil Villa (b. 1932) was interviewed shortly after he returned to Medellín, still under the spell of the great art of the Renaissance and caught up in modern ideas involving Cubism and Picasso. This interview expresses the vision of a young artist who has been scarcely studied by Colombian art critics until now. Gil Villa, recently returned from Europe, had come home to face the local media, brimming with new ideas stimulated by his almost simultaneous encounter with tradition and modernism.
Aníbal Gil Villa is a draftsman, painter, printmaker, and sculptor. He studied under Rafael Sáenz (1910–1998) and spent time in Europe from 1954 to 1957, where he studied painting techniques at the Academia de San Marcos in Florence, making several trips to visit the main European museums. When he returned to Medellín he took a teaching position and began producing work that was initially influenced by Cubism, Piero della Francesca, Renaissance techniques, and the ideas of the Uruguayan artist Joaquín Torres García. In 1964, Gil Villa started the Taller de Grabado [Print Shop] at the Universidad de Antioquia, where he pioneered the teaching of a number of different printing techniques (woodcut, etching, and lithography), rehabilitating a local tradition that had died out. Isolated from regional and national art movements, his work is characterized by humanist concerns that have inspired his tireless search for a means to reconcile tradition with modernism. He is known for his investigation into a variety of different techniques.