Fierro Rimac, Francisco (1803–1879)

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Fierro Rimac, Francisco (1803–1879)

Francisco Fierro Rimac (b. 1803; d. 1879), Peru's foremost painter of everyday life and prevailing customs (costumbrista painter). A mulatto, Fierro Rimac was born into a humble Lima family. Most of what is known about "Pancho Fierro," as he was called, is contained in a letter by Peruvian author Ricardo Palma dated 1885. Fierro Rimac was self-taught and began his career as an artist drawing maps and painting coats of arms of Peruvian cities. Among his popular subjects were Zambos (natives of Indian and black origin), artisans, water carriers, street vendors, fishermen (Stream Fishermen, 1850), dances, and bullfights (Juanita Breña Challenging a Bull with a Cloak, 1821). He painted the mentally ill living in the streets of Lima and left some of the earliest images of the tapadas (Peruvian women wearing a unique costume consisting of a cloak that covers the bust and most of the head, leaving only one eye uncovered). He also designed street posters advertising bullfights and decorated walls with costumbrista scenes, allegories, and bucolic landscapes, which have not survived.

An intuitive and talented colorist, Fierro Rimac worked primarily in watercolor, favoring small formats. His drawing was rudimentary; he did not use perspective. His work has been compared to some of Goya's The Caprices because of his caricaturesque style and his penchant for writing comments on drawings.

See alsoArt: The Nineteenth Century; Bullfighting; Indigenous Peoples.


Juan E. Ríos, La pintura contemporánea en el Perú (1946).

Dawn Ades, Art in Latin America: The Modern Era, 1820–1980 (1989), pp. 84-85.

Additional Bibliography

León y León Durán, Gustavo. Apuntes histórico genealógicos de Francisco Fierro: Pancho Fierro. Lima: Biblioteca Nacional de Perú, Fondo Editorial, 2004.

Cantuarias Acosta, Ricardo. Pancho Fierro. Lima: Editorial Brasa, 1995.

                                          Marta Garsd