Parra, Félix (1845–1919)

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Parra, Félix (1845–1919)

Félix Parra (b. 1845; d. 1919), Mexican painter. In 1861 Parra entered the school of drawing and painting at the College of San Nicolás in Morelia. In 1864 he moved to the Academy of San Carlos in Mexico City, which was occupied by French troops awaiting the arrival of Maximilian. Most of his education was under Mexican masters, since foreigners were not to Maximilian's liking. By this time the academy had already produced a generation of Mexicans trained under Spanish masters.

The themes that Parra presented in different exhibitions demonstrate the changes occurring at the time in the academy as well as in the critical world. In 1871 he presented a tender nude within the theme of the hunter, following the logic of European schools. In 1873 in the school of Padua he presented Galileo, which demonstrated the new astronomical theories. This is without a doubt one of his greatest works. In 1875 he unveiled a canvas of great dimensions, Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, and in 1877 he presented La Matanza de Cholula, whose historical component was taken from the book Historia general de los Indios by Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas. In it the Spanish missionary protests to his fellows the massacre of thirty thousand Cholultec Indians. This painting won Parra a scholarship from the academy to study in Europe.

Parra spent four years in France and Italy and returned to Mexico in 1882 as professor of ornamentation at the National School of Fine Arts. Beginning in 1909, another of his occupations was as sketcher at the National Museum, where he developed his skill with watercolor. He retired from his classes in 1915, by which time the school was no longer the center of artistic education.

See alsoArt: The Nineteenth Century; Art: The Twentieth Century.


Justino Fernández, El arte del siglo XIX en Mexico, 3d ed. (1983).

Fausto Ramírez, La plá stica del siglo de la independencia (1985).

Additional Bibliography

Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso. Arte de las academias: Francia y México, siglos XVII-XIX. Ciudad de México: Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso, 1999.

                                   Esther Acevedo