Categories: People

Juan Cordero

Juan Nepomuceno María Bernabé del Corazón de Jesús Cordero de Hoyos (16 May 1822, Teziutlán – 29 May 1884, Coyoacán) was a Mexican painter and muralist in the Classical style, who began his career in Rome and Florence

Juan Cordero was born of the marriage formed by Tomás Cordero and María Dolores de Hoyos and Mier who tried to dedicate it to the commerce but when recognizing the vocation of its son it enrolled it in the Academy of San Carlos in the City of Mexico In 1844 he was already a good draftsman and with a scholarship of the government marched with his family to Europe remaining in Rome from 1844 to 1853 When arriving at the eternal city was enrolled in the Academy of San Lucas where it was disciple of Pelegri Clavé, later His artistic rival, and Natal de Carta who introduced him to the Classical School In 1845 it deserved an honorable prize and by 1846 obtained the first place among numerous and distiguidos painters

His parents originally expected him to join the family business, but eventually recognized his talent and enrolled him at the Academia de San Carlos By 1844, he was so accomplished that his father gathered together as much money as he could (apparently even selling the family piano) and sent him to study in Rome at the Accademia di San Luca

General Bustamante, who at that time was in Rome, seeing the remarkable artistic qualities of Cordero, helped him as soon as he could In the same year of its arrival to Europe was named Lamb by the Mexican Government, added to the legation near the Pontifical Court; And later in 1846 the Academy of San Carlos granted a pension to encourage him in his works Cordero corresponded with these supports by periodically sending some of his works to his homeland

The most recognizable pictures may be the Moises he painted in 1850 which was highly praised, and his Return of Columbus of America, which was asked of Florence to be admired Of this last picture the whole Italian press was occupied and the Mexican press reproduced the accolades in honor of the artist

His primary instructor there was the Spanish painter, Pelegrí Clavé, but he also came under the influence of the Nazarene movement and Filippo Agricola Later, his works were noticed by former Mexican President Anastasio Bustamante, who was living in exile Bustamante arranged for Cordero to be given a position with Mexico’s legation at the Holy See, which allowed him to stay there until 1853

The Moises and the Colón were reproduced in engraving by all Italy, and Florence received with honors to its author when it went to visit and to study the galleries of the Offices and the Pitti Palace Finally he was admitted to the Congregation of virtuoso painters of Rome

Cordero returned in 1853 with two great pictures dedicated to the Academy of Mexico: The Redeemer and The Adulterous Woman that were exhibited with great success, but caused great rivalry with its director Pelegri Clavé, to the degree of dividing the critic and the public, some by Admiration to Clavé and others to Cordero, but also the political intentions appeared, since Cordero was Mexican and liberal, whereas Clavé was Spanish and conservative Cordero insisted on moving him to take up the Academy’s painting direction and was about to get it He had painted an equestrian portrait of Gral Santa Anna (1855), who seconded his wishes to gain access to the direction, but the Board of Directors of the Academy defended the Spanish painter, who remained in his post Cordero also painted for Santa Anna the portrait of his wife Dona Dolores Tosta (1855)

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Cordero dedicated himself to make wall paintings, first a half point for the Church of Jesus Maria, then the paintings of the Church of Santa Teresa la Antigua, previously destroyed by an earthquake in 1845 and rebuilt by Lorenzo de la Hidalga, who raised An interesting dome of double vault with a great oculus the first one; Today the painting of Cordero can be seen intact

He returned home with several large canvases that he exhibited at the Academy, to great success This created a rivalry with his former teacher, Clavé, who had moved to Mexico and was now the Academy’s Director Soon, the rivalry took on political overtones, as Cordero was a Liberal, while Clavé was a Conservative Cordero made an effort to supplant Clavé as Director, with the support of General Santa Anna, whose equestrian portrait he had recently painted, but the Academy’s board chose to retain Clavé

Cordero decorated between 1858 and 1859 the dome of the Church of San Fernando, of conception different from the previous one He was a friend of Gabino Barreda, a philosopher who introduced Positivism in Mexico, who painted a portrait, and inspired by him, the first mural of a philosophical and avant-garde theme (1874), now disappeared, at the Preparatory National School (San Ildefonso) The following year she exhibited Stella Matutina and a picture with portraits: The daughters of Don Manuel Cordero, with what was her last public appearance

From 1860 to 1867, he travelled throughout Mexico, painting portraits He then turned to painting murals, including the cupola at the Church of Santa Teresa la Antigua, which had been destroyed by an earthquake in 1845 and rebuilt by the Spanish architect Lorenzo de la Hidalga

He was also a friend of Gabino Barreda who, in 1874, asked him to paint a mural at the National Preparatory School, which would later become the home of the Mexican muralism movement It was called “The Triumph of Science and Industry Over Ignorance and Sloth”, and was the first Mexican mural on a secular philosophical theme In 1900, it was destroyed by the school’s Director, and replaced by a stained-glass window Before its destruction, it was apparently copied by Juan de Mata Pacheco (1874-1956), but it is not certain that his painting of the same name is an accurate reproduction

After 1875, Cordero stopped exhibiting This may have been a reaction to the political situation created by Porfirio Díaz’ coup in 1876.

In tribute to his memory an exhibition of 46 of his works was organized in the Palace of Fine Arts in 1945