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The painter of the malon

Meet Angelell Della Valle, author of La vuelta del malón. Portrait artist of President Roca, is one of the most
Retratista del presidente Roca, es uno de los pintores más importantes del país.
| 13 December, 2019 |

If there’s an important painter in our country, it’s Angel Della Valle. Belonging to the Generation of 80, he is one of the main representatives, along with Eduardo Sívori, of Argentine pictorial realism (And The Return of the Malón, of which we speak a little below is his main exponent).

He began painting very young and by the age of 20 he had already traveled to Italy to perfect his technique (at that time in Argentina there were no art academies, only some that another particular teacher). In 1883, back in Buenos Aires, he installed the workshop at his parents’ house. He was a great portraitist, perhaps that of then President Julio Argentino Roca is one of the most important.

But the area in which stood out (and the one that would make it happen in history) was the representation of the gaucho and of the Creole and autochthonous (never best used the “paint your village and you’ll be painting the world).

The Indian in the elite painting: The turn of the malon

It was in 1892 that he changed his life: he first exhibited La Vuelta del Malón. Initially the painting was exhibited in a hardware store in the city of Buenos Aires . It is said that some of the neighbors passing through the stained-glass window returned to their homes in fear, not only because of the size of the painting (it is really imposing) but because of the realism with which it is made (besides, of course, that the scene is terrifying). Given the impact, it quickly went on display at the Nocetti and Repetto bazaar (there were no art galleries in the city), and then went through the Argentine pavilion of the international exhibition in Chicago. Today we can see it in the National Museum of Fine Arts.

Maria Gainza, recognized Argentine art review, wrote about The back of the malon: “In it the Indians are the demon that gallops the cries for the pampa in a rainy dawn. They have looted a church and carry I get crosses, chalices, briefcases and even heads! ; the stormy sky, which As soon as a little light comes out, it is a sign of the malon’s dark character. He civilized world, instead, is represented by the captive, a woman defenceless of white skin like marble that, with fright, fainted over his muscular captor. ‘ It is important to remember that the work was painted as part of the “celebration” of the four hundred years of the arrival of Columbus to America and Della Valle took advantage to lay their position: the idea of the civilization and barbarism as staunch enemies. As you can see, the crack is not something new.

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