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Justino Fernández

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El Juan y la soldadera [Male Soldier and Female Soldier]

circa 1928
20th century
33 cm x 23.1 cm (13 in. x 9 1/8 in.)

Justino Fernández (Mexico City (?), 1904 – 1972, Mexico City (?)) Primary

Object Type: print
Artist Nationality: Latin America, Mexican
Medium and Support: Woodcut
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, University Purchase, 1966; Transfer from the Harry Ransom Center, 1982
Accession Number: 1982.924

Known primarily as an art historian, Justino Fernández was also a philosopher and an artist. As a young man, he was sent by his family to the United States to avoid the dangers of the Mexican Revolution. When Fernández returned home to Mexico City in the early 1920s, the emergence of Mexican muralism greatly influenced his work.
“El Juan y la soldadera” draws from an archetype of the revolutionary period, the “Juan,” or federal soldier, and his female companion. A well-known song describes the scene: “Abnegada soldadera / de tu bien querido Juan / tú le cubres la trinchera / con tus ropas de percal / y le das la cartuchera / cuando se pone a tirar” [“Selfless follower / of your beloved Juan / you cover his trench / with your cotton cloth / and give him his cartridge / when he’s ready to shoot”]. In “El Juan y la soldadera,” part of a series of expressive woodcuts printed on paper in different colors, Fernández shows how whole families became directly involved in the conflict.

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