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Garay, Epifanio (1849–1903)

Garay, Epifanio (1849–1903)

Epifanio Garay (b. 1849; d. 1903), Colombian artist. Born in Bogotá, Garay was the son of the portrait painter and cabinetmaker Narciso Garay. He studied first with his father and then with José Manuel Groot (1800–1878) while also training at the Academia de Música. He became an opera singer as well as the most important portrait painter in Colombian history. In 1865 he sang in a production of La Traviata and in Spanish musical comedies. His paintings during this period included genre, nudes, as well as religious subjects. In 1871 he received honorable mention for his painting Dolor at the Anniversary of the Independence show.

Thanks to his skill as a singer, Garay was able to travel extensively, giving him a sophistication noticeable in his paintings. From 1871 to 1880 he toured with the Compañía de Zarzuela, performing at the Musical Academy of New York. He returned to Bogotá in 1880 and was appointed director of the Academia Gutiérrez, but two years later he received a grant from the government to study in Paris with Bouguereau, Boulanger, Ferrier, and Bonnat. When civil war in Colombia led to the cancellation of his grant, he went on a singing tour through the capitals of Europe. He returned to Bogotá and, disappointed with the reception of his work, tried farming and cattle ranching before opening an art school in Cartagena. In 1894 he was named acting director of the School of Fine Arts in Bogotá, becoming director in 1898. With the onset of the revolution of 1899, the school closed. He died in Bogotá.

See alsoArt: The Nineteenth Century; Groot, José Manuel.


Gabriel Giraldo Jaramillo, La miniatura, la pintura y el grabado en Colombia (1980).

Eduardo Serrano, Cien años de arte colombiano, 1886–1986 (1986).

                                       BÉlgica RodrÍguez

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