Augusto Roa Bastos. Texts by Marta Dujovne, Augusto Roa Bastos, Antonio Candido and Raquel de Queiroz
1976 / 176 PAGES
The bloodiest war of the 19th century in the clear, vibrant and meticulous battle scenes painted by an extraordinary “military painter” who participated in it, and in the words of a great 20th-century Paraguayan writer.
The Paraguayan war was the bloodiest war of the 19th century, and the Argentine painter Cándido López was its meticulous chronicler. To accomplish the feat, he relied on memory, sketches from real life, and his left hand (having lost his right in battle). He worked on canvases, filled them with humid American skies full of vibrant vapours and armies as tiny as rows of ants. He rivalled photography and cinema, and his demon was precision. From the dust of the two major museums in Buenos Aires, a young Argentinian scholar, Marta Dujovne, has taken López's paintings and the war diary reproduced in this volume. To these she has added a biographical and critical study. López fought in the ranks of the victors; the great Paraguayan writer Augusto Roa Bastos, on the other hand, was a son of the defeated. Through the voice of an imaginary witness, Roa Bastos recounts the last days of the Paraguayan war and the death of the tyrant Solano Lopez. The story is full of pain and shame, but also echoes of antiquity and Borges' double. Completing the volume are the war diary of Cándido López and two brief appendices by Brazilians Raquel de Queiroz and Antonio Candido.