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Culture of Venezuela

Venezuela's heritage, art, and culture has been heavily influenced by the historical evolutions of its Latin American counterparts. These elements extend to its historic buildings, architecture,[13] art[14], landscape, boundaries, and monuments. Venezuelan culture has been shaped by indigenous, Spanish, and African influences dating at early as the colonial period. Before this period, indigenous culture was expressed in art (petroglyphs), crafts, architecture (shabonos), and social organization. Aboriginal culture was subsequently assimilated by Spaniards; over the years, the hybrid culture had diversified by region.
Venezuelan art is gaining attention within and outside the country. First dominated by religious motives, in the late 19th century it changed to historical and heroic representations, led by Martín Tovar y Tovar. Modernism took over in the 20th century. Some remarkable Venezuelan artists include Arturo Michelena, Cristóbal Rojas, Armando Reverón, Manuel Cabré, Jesús-Rafael Soto, Carlos Cruz-Diez (who both contributed greatly to kinetic art) and Yucef Merhi.
Venezuelan Joropo. Drawing by Eloy Palacios (1912).Venezuelan literature began developing soon after the Spanish conquest, and it was dominated by Spanish culture and thinking. Following the rise of political literature during the Independence War, then came Romanticism, the first important genre in the region, whose great exponent was Juan Vicente González. Although mainly focused on narrative, poets also figure with great importance, Andrés Eloy Blanco being the most famous of them, and also Fermín Toro. Major writers and novelists are Rómulo Gallegos, Teresa de la Parra, Arturo Uslar Pietri, Adriano González León, Miguel Otero Silva and Mariano Picón Salas. Another great poet and humanist was Andrés Bello, besides being an educator and an intellectual. Other philosophers and intellectuals, like Laureano Vallenilla Lanz and José Gil Fortoul, along with many other writers, sustained the theory of Venezuelan positivism.
The great architect of the Venezuelan modern era was Carlos Raúl Villanueva, who designed the Universidad Central de Venezuela, (a World Heritage Site) and its Aula Magna. Venezuelan architectural examples are the Capitol, the Baralt Theatre, the Teresa Carreño Cultural Complex, and the General Rafael Urdaneta Bridge.
Indigenous musical styles are sort of a crucible of Venezuelan cultural inheritances, most exemplified by groups like Un Solo Pueblo and Serenata Guayanesa. The national musical instrument is the cuatro. The typical or representative musical styles are mainly from the llanos area and its surroundings, such as Alma Llanera (by Pedro Elías Gutiérrez and Rafael Bolivar Coronado), Florentino y el Diablo (by Alberto Arvelo Torrealba), Concierto en la llanura by Juan Vicente Torrealba, and Caballo Viejo (by Simón Díaz). The Gaita (music style) is also a popular style, played generally during Christmas, typical of the Zulian region. The national dance is the joropo. Teresa Carreño was a world famous piano virtuosa during the late 19th century.
Venezuela is also known for their world famous baseball players, such as Luis Aparicio, who is in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York (USA), David Concepción, Oswaldo Guillén, Andrés Galarraga, Omar Vizquel, Luis Sojo, Bobby Abreu, and Johan Santana, winner of the Cy Young Award in 2004 and 2006. Although baseball is tremendously popular (it's the national pastime), football (soccer) is also gaining popularity, due to the increasing performance of the Venezuela national football team.