Jorge Jiménez Deredia

Eternidad by Jorge Jimenez Deredia - courtesy of
Eternidad by Jorge Jimenez Deredia - courtesy of

There isn't much that isn't breathtakingly amazing in Costa Rica. From the sprawling rural agriculture towns to the brilliantly colored rainforests, there is always something to see. The country is also home to a range of art and history museums and has produced some of history's most prominent artists. Once such famous artist is Jorge Jimenez Martinez, more commonly known as Jorge Jimenez Deredia.

Early Biography

Born in Heredia, Costa Rica on October 4, 1954, Jorge Jimenez Martinez first began sculpting in the early late 1960s when, at just 13 years old, he participated in an art workshop hosted by the Liceo de Heredia. His early pieces quickly showed characteristics of what would become his signature style and featured environmentally modified, organic shapes as well as a noticeable influence of pre-Columbian art. He soon began studying art at the University of Costa Rica’s School of Fine Arts.

When Martinez was 22 years old, he earned a study grant that took him to Italy and eventually led him to travel around Europe. He spent the next several years learning how to sculpt with marble and bronze while admiring the renowned work of such names as Bernini and Michelangelo. After graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts in Carrara, he spent the early 1980s attending Florence University's Faculty of Architecture. During this period, his artistic interests began to extend to the Renaissance era. It was during this time that he took on his art name of Deredia, a play on the "de Heredia," which literally translates to "originating from Heredia."

Making a Name for Himself

Deredia created a series of works known as Geneses in 1985. These works, which focused on how matter mutated in space over time, helped him to shape his own artistic system, which he dubbed transmutative symbolism. During the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, Deredia participated in the Venice Biennale and met renowned art critic and theorist Pierre Restany who became a lifelong friend. By 1999, he was commissioned by the Fabbrica di San Pietro to create a statue of San Marcelino Champagnat.

The 2000s and Beyond

Deredia continued to create long after creating his sculpture, which Pope John Paul II inaugurated. After holding a personal exhibit in Florence in 2006, the Florentine Academy of Art and Design nominated him for the Correspondent Academician of the Sculpture Class. In 2009, he hosted another important exhibit, this time in Rome. It was the first time that the Via Sacra and Roman Forum had ever hosted contemporary art.

For more than 47 years, Deredia has been creating uniquely beautiful pieces that are displayed in public institutions, external environments and museums. His work is available in 16 countries across America, Asia and Europe and includes more than 100 collective exhibitions and 50 personal ones.

Characteristics of Deredia’s Work

One of the most prominent themes in Deredia's sculptures is that of motherhood in the form of fertility and birth. He represents such feminine qualities by using sphere-like shapes to create women's bodies, their breasts and their uteruses. Many of his sculptures, such as those in his Geneses exhibit, also focus on the different stages of life after birth, including death. Deredia believes everyone is just stardust and uses transmutation art to fuel his work. He also uses Costa Rica culture to influence much of his art.


Deredia has a long list of achievements and recognitions in the art world, including being the first Latin American to have work exhibited in St. Peter's Basilica and winning the Beato Angelico prize presented by the Vatican in 1999. In addition, his art has been published in six books, including a book in which his art is analyzed by Restany.

With such an impressive resume and obvious talent, it is easy to see why Costa Rica is in love with Jorge Jimenez Deredia. Costa Rica art wouldn’t be what it is today without him.

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