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Armando Garcia Menocal is the synthesis of an indispensable artist in Cuban culture
Born in Havana 140 years ago, on July 8, 1868, from a well-off family, he studied in the Saint Alejandro Art Academy, from which he graduated in 1880, when he was sixteen years old. After graduating he travel to Spain, where he was a student of the Valencian painter Francisco Jover y Casanova, and he got in touch with artists and intellectuals, such as the journalist known as Fray Candil and his colleague Joaquín Sorolla.

The characteristics of his work make him known to personalities of his time. The poet Julián del Casal stated in La Discusión, a publication from Havana: “Under the domain of his brush, satin shimmers, silk rustles, lace is gauzier, flower shows invisible shades and precious stones throw very lively shines. The same thing may be said about human figure. The face preserves its color; the pupil, its sight; the brow, its folds; and physiognomy, its expression.”

The young painter occupied a post, after the death of Valentín Sanz Carta, and he successfully performed in the department of Landscape. His workshop in Puentes Grandes served as a stage for the beginning of his entrance into the historical theme. There he painted Reembarque de Colón por Bobadilla, a piecthe that caused an irate reaction among colonial authorities, since its represented an enchained Discoverer.

At the start of the War of Independence in 1895, he abandoned teaching and he joined the Liberating Army where he fought under the orders of General Máximo Gómez. He painted the epic characteristics of some of the pages of the conflict, such as La batalla de Coliseo, La Invasión and La batalla y toma de Guáimaro.

But maybe, his best known piece is La muerte de Antonio Maceo, a big format oil painting made in 1908 that stands out for the dramatic treatment of the composition.

At the end of the war, he incorporates himself once again to education in Saint Alejandro, a center he directed in 1927. some of his pieces may be also seen at the National Fine Arts Museum, the Aula Magna of University of Havana and the Revolution Museum.

Because of the importance of its academic stamp and the reflection of patriotic themes, Menocal is part of the Cuban Art Reproductions that travel since 2002 around all the provinces of the country.

* Mambí: Cuban soldier, member of the Cuban Independence Army, who fought during the Cuban Independence Wars.


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