Francisco Amighetti

Francisco Amighetti Watercolor of a typical carreta courtesy of
Francisco Amighetti Watercolor of a typical carreta courtesy of

Francisco Amighetti, a Costa Rican artist of Italian descent, is known for his extensive and beautiful work in a wide variety of artistic styles.

When It All Start

Amighetti was born in San José in 1907, and his artistic talent began to develop from an early age. When he was a student at Liceo de Costa Rica - San Jose's main high school for boys - his teachers took notice of his work and encouraged him to study at the Academia de Bella Artes, or "Academy of Fine Arts."

During his time at the Academy, Amighetti studied painting and drawing under the tutelage of Tomás Povedano, a famous Spanish painter who served as director of the institute. As he perfected his technique, Amighetti began to receive critical acclaim for the first time thanks to some of his drawings and cartoons being published in "Repertorio Americano", a famous artistic magazine.

Looking for Revolutionary Forms

After marrying Costa Rican writer and folklorist Emily Prieto in 1929, Amighetti began to take a new approach to his art. Along with contemporaries like Francisco Zuñíga, Manuel de la Cruz and Luis Chacón, Amighetti abandoned his classical European training in favor of more revolutionary forms of art, including surrealism and abstract expressionism. Additionally, Amighetti and his colleagues began experimenting with xylography, or the art of woodcutting. Over the course of the next several years, the group produced art that reflected more primitive elements than what they had painted before, ultimately releasing a famous collection of woodcuts in 1934.

Although many of his colleagues left Costa Rica soon afterward, Amighetti stayed in the country as he worked to perfect his oil and water paintings, sculpting and Impressionist landscape paintings. Additionally, following the release of his xylograph collection, he published a collection of poems, his first literary work.

International Artist

By the 1950s, Amighetti had won international acclaim and spent a great deal of time traveling around the world as he staged exhibitions of his art in major cities in Europe, Asia and North America. Moreover, he is reported to have made the most highly-priced piece of art in the history of Costa Rica. Amighetti continued to work up until his death in 1998 at the age of 92, devoting 24 years to the production of engravings and ultimately making more than 500 individual works of art.

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