Armando Garcia Menocal

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Armando García-Menocal (Havana, 1863-1942) is one of the artists in our series of illustrated books, selected for his significant role in the visual representation of Cuba’s epic history.
García-Menocal was active as a painter in Cuba between the last quarter of the nineteenth century and the first three decades of the twentieth century. He was also a commander in the 5th Corps of the insurrectionary Army during the Second Cuban War of Independence (1895-1898). An important figure in the Academy of Fine Arts of Havana and considered one of the masters of the artistic transition in Cuba of his time, his participation in the war did not stop his artistic work. He continued to be a renowned portraitist and landscape painter, and his later work incorporated epic elements of his experiences in the war.
We have also chosen to use images of his work on the covers of our books because of his ability to capture and communicate elements of Cuban identity and history. His portraits and landscapes, imbued with a sense of struggle and passion, are emblematic in the visual representation of Cuba’s epic history and enrich the visual narrative of our collection.
Coming from a family with ancient origins in Polanco, Cantabria, García-Menocal was born in Havana and was the fourth and last child of Rafael García-Menocal and María del Rosario García-Menocal. After his father’s death in 1866, the family came under the care of his mother’s brother.
García-Menocal studied at the San Alejandro School of Painting and Sculpture between 1876 and 1881 and later obtained a pension at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid. He returned to Havana in May 1889 to establish his studio.
In his training in San Alejandro, he had as teachers Francisco Cisneros, Ramón Bear, Antonio Herrera and Miguel Melero, among others, who had a great influence on his style. Upon his return from Madrid, he received positive reviews of his work, including reviews from writer and journalist Julián del Casal.
Armando García-Menocal also had a teaching career at the School of Painting in Havana. After the death of Professor Diego Antonio de Herrera, he was appointed professor of elementary drawing in 1891, and continued to paint portraits and works of historical subjects.
On the occasion of the fourth centenary of the discovery of the New World, he participated in the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 with his painting “The Embarkation of Columbus by Bobadilla”. The work caused controversy due to the depiction of the chains on Columbus’ feet, and eventually, the chains were removed from the painting. Currently, it is exhibited in the Cambio de siglo room of the Museum of Fine Arts in Havana.
The life and work of Armando García-Menocal reflect a dynamic period in Cuban history and art. His role as an artist, educator and combatant in the War of Independence makes him a complex and multifaceted figure in Cuban culture. His ability to integrate art and the political and social life of his time leaves a lasting legacy that still resonates in Cuba’s cultural identity. An example of this is his 1920 work The Triumph of the Republic, located on the ceiling of the Hall of Mirrors of the then Presidential Palace of Cuba.

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Rústica tipográfica148 mm210 mm
Rústica ilustrada149 mm210 mm
Tapa dura152 mm228 mm
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