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Culture

Art

In the history of Venezuelan plastic arts, the 19th century painting, apart from being rich, plays a significant role for today's generations. Important painters such as Arturo Michelena, Cristobal Rojas, Martin Tovar and Tovar, Antonio Herrera Toro and Juan Lovera, left works of great identity, penetration and complexity for the following generations.

Among the main works regarding painting and contemporary arts in Venezuela, we can find:

  • Juan Lovera: "Self-portrait" and "The Divine Shepherdess"
  • Martin Tovar and Tovar: "National Independence Heroes" and the "Battle of Ayacucho"
  • Arturo Michelena: "Miranda in La Carraca" and "The Last Supper"
  • Antonio Herrera Toro: "Baptism of Christ" and "The Assumption"
  • Cristobal Rojas: "The Purgatory" and "The Beggar"

  • For the 20th century, Armando Reveron's work is recognized. Most of it was done in the coast of Vargas state, where he expresses on his canvas all the tropic luminosity. Reveron was an outstanding member of the Academy of Fine Arts and creator of advanced chromatic formulas. Among his greatest works, we can find: 'Self-portrait', 'Two Figures', 'Landscapes', 'Venezuela' and 'Coconut Palms', etc.

    Venezuelan artist Jesus Soto was one of the most important representatives of the kinetic and optical art. The following are some of his works: "Metamorphosis", 1954; "Yellow Progression", 1968; "Yellow and White Extension", 1979 and "Space and Color Ambivalence", 1981, part of his works exposed in the main museums around the world.

    Most important art museums in Venezuela


  • The National Art Museum. It is located in Caracas and it boasts the most complete painting collection of the 19th century of the whole country. Here, you can find important canvas such as "Miranda in La Carraca", by Arturo Michelena, as well as the works of the academic painting masters and the traveler artists of the 19th century.
    Avenida Mxico between Bellas Artes and Parque Carabobo stations. La Candelaria. Caracas.
    Visiting Hours:
    Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
    Saturday, Sunday and holidays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

  • Bellas Artes Museum. Opened on February 20th, 1938 in Caracas. It has a permanent collection, with the works grouped as follows: Medieval and Modern European Art, Contemporary European and American Art, Cubism and like-tendencies, Latin American Art (painting and sculpture), Drawing and Illustrations, Ceramics and Egiptian Art.

    Plaza de los Museos Parque Los Caobos. Bellas Artes - Caracas
    Visiting Hours:
    Tuesday to Sunday, from 9:00 am to 12:00 m and from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
    Saturday, Sunday and holidays, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

  • Museum of Contemporary Art in Caracas (MACC) Opened on February 20th 1974. It is one of the main museums in Venezuela. From the beginning, it has presented temporary exhibitions of national and international plastic artists, from painting, sculpture, drawing, cinema and video to photography. This building houses top quality works distributed among its seventeen rooms. It is located in Parque Central, near the Teresa Carreo Theater. It also has a cabinet for the exhibition of paper works, a full art library, a creativity studio, a covered square, a multimedia room, a gallery and an amazing sculpture garden.
    Its patrimony is made up by 3,000 works of well-known artists. Here, you can find: "The Odalisque with Red Pants" by Henri Matisse; "Sky Lesson", by Joan Miro; "Dora Maar Portrait" by Pablo Picasso and "The Night Carnival" by Marc Chagall, among other works by Reveron, Jean Arp, Botero, Victor Vasarely, Riverse, Auguste Rodin, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Jacobo Borges and Fernando Botero.

    Visiting Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from10:00 am to 6:00 pm

  • Museum of Modern Art "Jess Soto": This avant-garde and internationally-known space is product of the desire of the Venezuelan artist to promote the art and culture in his country and home town.
    The museum was designed by the well-known architect Carlos Raul Villanueva, who demonstrated once more his creative capacity to integrate the architectural design with the painting, the sculpture, the landscape and the man. Important works from a particular collection created by the master Soto, during years 1950 and 1960 in his stay in Europe, are also exhibited in the museum.
    Avenida Germania. Ciudad Bolvar. Bolivar State.
    Visiting Hours:
    Tuesday to Friday from 9:30 am to 05:30 pm
    Sbados, domingos y feriados: 10:00 am a 05:00 pm



  • Museum of Contemporary Art in Zulia (Maczul) Opened on October 24th 1998. As part of its permanent collection, you can find the works of the most diverse genres of expression, created by topline artists.
    Avenida Universidad con prolongacin Cecilio Acosta, Maracaibo, Zulia State
    Tuesday to Friday from 9:00 am to 05:00 pm
    Saturday, Sunday and holidays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm



  • Music

    Joropo
    It is the national dance of Venezuela, and the popular musical instruments to play it are: the cuatro (a four-stringed guitar), the bandola (similar to the cuatro but with a pear-shaped body), the harp and the maracas. These are associated to the country's life styles (folklore). The joropo features a wide range of rhythms and melodic repertoires representing the plainsman traditions and origins.

    Tambores de Barlovento (Barlovento Drums)
    This cultural representation takes place in the coasts of Miranda state. 'Barlovento, Barlovento, tierra ardiente y del tambor, tierra de las fulas y negras finas que llevan de fiesta su cintura prieta, al son de la curbeta y el taquiti taqui de la mina' is one of the most representative songs of the Venezuelan folklore. Barlovento means "from the wind comes", opposite to sotavento (leeward), which means where the wind goes.

    El Baile de Las Turas (Dance of the Flutes)
    In Venezuelan coasts, the popular music is expressed through diverse music genres such as polo (song more lively than galeron and about day to day anecdotes of the inhabitants and fishermen), jotas (sad and melancholic song about fishing and love), malagueas (a type of music with origins in the Spanish fandango), galerones (slow rhythm songs) and fulas (a typical rhythm of Venezuelan coasts). All these rhythms represent the music of the eastern part of Venezuela. El Baile de Las Turas, celebrated in May in San Luis Mountains (Falcon), has a defined ancient rhythm.

    Villancicos (Carols)
    In other countries, particularly in Europe, the term carols is associated to the Christmas music genre. In Venezuela, these songs are characterized by the way the last verse of a stanza is linked to the first verse of the following stanza. Carols are commonly listened to in the Andean states and in some populations of Barinas near the mountain, where merengues campesinos (folk merengues) are also frequent.

    El Bambuco
    It is one of the most frequent music rhythms in the Venezuelan Andes, although it can be found in other regions of the country such as Lara, Zulia and the Capital District. Its origins are the old habanera-like songs spread throughout the continent to Argentina around the middle of the last century. This dance music, with binary rhythm and melancholic or romantic lyrics, is played with the triple (of the guitar family), the bandolin, the guitar and the flute.

    La Gaita Zuliana
    It is a mixed race representation as many other Latin American traditions. The gaita is a characteristic rhythm of Zulia state, which has become Venezuelan typical music during Christmas. It originates from different genres and has a very particular rhythm. Its lyrics range from prayers and religious gratitude, love and brokenhearted songs, to political protests. The necessary instruments to play the gaita are: the cuatro, the bass drum, the charrasca and the furruco.

    Vals (Waltz)
    Venezuelan waltz is another musical representation, commonly known in our country as valse, whose origin is the European waltz genre. In Venezuela, waltz obtained some typical characteristics of its folk music including instruments and rhythm elements in the years following the independence movement. The waltz is played with the following instruments: guitar, triple, harp, cuatro, piano and clarinet, the latter was subsequently included.

    Merengue
    Following the waltz in importance, the merengue is a dance type of music particular of Caracas, but spread to other regions of the country, where it gets typical characteristics. It is played with soloistic instruments: trumpet, trombone, sax and clarinet, accompanied by the cuatro, bass and percussion. The lyrics of this genre refer to different themes such as love, women, day to day life and big events of the country. It is important to note that the merengue was a vehicle to social criticism.

    Indigenous Rhythms
    A big part of Venezuelan indigenous population still practices its ancient rituals and customs as songs and dances. In the large indigenous cultures of Bolivar state, there are musical and handicrafts manifestations. Forest inhabitants, individually or in groups, use giant reed-flutes and rattles to summon the spirits or to demonstrate happiness in amusement activities. All these rhythms are characterized by a sad and monodic music.


    Traditions

    Los Diablos de Yare (The Dancing Devils of Yare)
    African influence is present in the coasts of Venezuela, which manifests in the typical dances of the region. The Corpus Christy celebration is popularly known through the magic-religious ritual of the Dancing Devils of Yare, celebrated since the 18th century in San Francisco de Yare, Miranda state.

    The most exciting part of the activity is to see the devils dancing with the rhythm of the box, a typical drum. They dance across the town's streets and then kneel in unison in front of the church, keeping the position as a sign of respect to the Lord, while the priest blesses them.

    Baile de San Juan (Dance of Saint John)
    Drum beats are very representative of the coastal towns of Venezuela, particularly Vargas, Aragua, Miranda and Carabobo states. In general, these drum beats are held during the festivities devoted to the patron saints, especially, to Saint John the Baptist on June 23rd and 24th, when the raining period starts. Saint John the Baptist is known as the saint of the rhythm and drum.

    The people from Carabobo state celebrate Saint John's party in Barlovento, where they play the Mina and Curbata (large drum made from a cylindrical tree trunk) drums.

    Virgen del Valle (Valley's Virgin)
    In Nueva Esparta state, the biggest celebrations in Margarita occur between the 8th and 15th of September, which correspond to the festivities of the Valley's Virgin, patron of the island. This procession takes place in the population of El Valle del Espiritu Santo, where people from Margarita and devout followers from all parts of Venezuela go to pay the promises made to the Virgin.

    Diversiones Pascuales (Easter Amusement Activities)
    Happy and noisy popular parties are celebrated in the eastern coasts of Venezuela, where dance, music, food and candy stands, as well as alcohol consumption abound. Among its typical celebrations we can find the Easter Amusement Activities, celebrations shared by all the town of the eastern part of Venezuela and which are held between December and February.

    Velorios de la Cruz de Mayo
    The Velorios de la Cruz de Mayo is celebrated every year on May in Sucre state. In this festivity singers and typical orchestras gather together to play the bandolins, guitars, cuatro and maracas.
    During May in some cities of Venezuela, you can see crosses decorated with colorful flowers, fruits or papers. This is how the inhabitants thank the Cross for the received favors, or plea for favors. This tradition is also held in the plains and the central coast.

    Carnaval Turstico Internacional de Carpano (International Tourist Carnival of Carupano)
    It is a celebration that takes place in the streets and avenues with float and costume parades and krewes, accompanied by national and international groups dressed with typical costumes.

    Cantera de Reyes Magos (The Three Wise Men's Chant)
    On the western coast of the country, the folklore of Falcon state is remarkable. It has custom and religious expressions offering originality, which promote tourism.

    The festivity of the Three Wise Men is celebrated on January 6th, 7th and 8th in the southern part of Falcon state. It is also known as "The Three Wise Men's Chant", in this celebration people let fireworks off, sing stanzas and play music with the occasion.

    Polo Coriano
    The polo coriano is one of the most characteristic folk manifestations of the idiosyncrasy of the people of Falcon. It is a chant that demonstrates the speed of the popular talent.

    Carnival in El Callao
    Calipso takes possession during Carnival celebration in El Callao, a town in Bolivar state well-known by organizing a series of eye-catching krewes. Participants with cylindrical drums perform and dance this particular music genre with a remarkable West Indian influence.

    San Benito
    The importance of the Christian religion for Andeans manifests itself with the traditions and customs remaining in the region nowadays. Festivities such as San Benito are common. The western zone of Venezuela worships the black saint, from Zulia state to Trujillo state. From December to January, in these celebrations giros and chimbangles make an offering to the saint. In Merida, specifically in Mucuchies, one of the most colorful and beautiful celebrations of San Benito takes place. This tradition has been preserved intact through the years.

    San Isidro Labrador (Saint Isidore the Laborer)
    In Merida state, on May 14th and 15th a celebration is held to honour Saint Isidore the Laborer, patron of the coffee, vegetables and grains harvests. The festivity starts the morning of the 14th, when dancers and inhabitants of the town gather together in the square to take the Saint's image to the church. This celebration comprises dance, float parades, processions and masses.

    Paradura del Nio
    It is celebrated on January 1st or the first days of February in all the state of Merida and in some towns of Trujillo and Tachira states. It refers to a family festivity centered on the Image of Baby Jesus. During the celebration people share special food and beverages, while the Christmas carols cheer up the environment.

    Feria Internacional de San Sebastian (Saint Sebastian International Fair)
    An activity that also catches the attention of Venezuelans is Saint Sebastian International Fair. It is celebrated on January in the city of San Cristobal, Tachira state, where it is possible to enjoy bullfights featuring important bullfighters, agricultural and industrial exhibitions, handicraft, international cycling, dance in stands and bandstands, country music festivals, parades, typical food and beverages.

    Feria del Sol (Fair of the Sun)
    In Merida state between February and March, there is an event that gathers a lot of visitors from other parts of the country and the whole world. This celebration coincides with Carnival and it is known as the Fair of the Sun, famous for offering the visiting public a wide range of activities such as bullfights, exhibitions and different shows.

    El Nazareno de San Pablo (The Nazarene of Saint Paul)
    Some folkloric and religious celebrations pile up a huge amount of followers, among these we can find the Nazarene of Saint Paul which is celebrated in Caracas and characterized by the religious festivity in honor to the Nazarene adored in the Basilica of Santa Teresa. This tradition dates back to colonial times and is held on Holy Wednesday. The promise-payers dress in violet or purple, simulating the Nazarene.

     
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