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,
art, 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
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
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.