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Cosmonauta [Cosmonaut]

20th century
99.7 cm x 99.7 cm (39 1/4 in. x 39 1/4 in.)

Carlos Colombino (Concepción, Paraguay, 1937 - 2013, Asunción, Paraguay) Primary

Object Type: painting
Artist Nationality: Latin America, Paraguayan
Medium and Support: Oil on carved wood
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Gift of Robert L. Michael, 2003
Accession Number: 2003.96

In this work the artist has rendered a monsterlike cosmonaut in an expressive painted plywood carving. Colombino developed this xilo-pintura (“woodcut-painting”) technique, which is characteristic of his work; it involves first carving the surface of the wood as though to make a woodcut, and then applying oil paint to the wood relief. When he made this work, Paraguay was still languishing under the forty-four-year dictatorship of General Alfredo Stroessner, and something of the repressive and isolated feeling of the times can be sensed in the dark and crowded composition. The subject of the astronaut is fairly common in Latin American art of this period: artists viewed the unparalleled technological advances of the developed world with a mixture of wonder and uncertainty, living as they were in a world far removed from the benefits or comforts of high technology.

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