Writers, poets and painters
Politics and presidents
Actors and singers

FAMOUS PEOPLE: Writers, poets and painters

Carlos Luis Fallas
[1909-1966]. Was born on January 21st in Alajuela. A novelist. At age of 16 has moved to province of Limon. Has worked on railway and as a bananas loader in port. A member of Comunist Party. In 1930`s participated in organizing banana workers strikes. In 1941 has written the most famous novel "Mamita Yunai" about work conditions in banana plantations. Inne poOther novels: "Gentes y gentecillas" (1947), "Mi madrina" (1950), "Marcos Ramirez" (1952) [1962 - a prize of William Faulkner foundation in domain of iberoamerican novels], "Tres cuentos" (1967). In 1944 has been chosen for congressman. In 1966 has obtain the literature`s prize - "Magon".

Carmen Lyra
[1888-1949]. (The real name: Maria Isabel Carvajal). Was born on January 15th in San Jose. A fairytail-writer. She graduated primary school in "Metallic Building" and secondary school at Colegio de Senoritas (of pedagogical profile). In Europe she studied elementary teaching. On coming back to Costa Rica she managed Escuela Maternal. She obtained as the first ever a title of professor on Children`s Literature department in the University of Costa Rica. In 1916 her first novel "Ensilla de ruedas" was issued. Her most renowned work are novelettes "Cuentos de tia Panchita" [1921]. Other major books: "Las fantasias y de Juan Silvestre" [1018], "Bananas y hombres" [1933]. In 1948 emigrated to Mexico. In San Jose, a children`s library in Park Central is named after her. In Barrio Amon [av.7/calle 3 i 5], on a place where she was born, there is a commemorative plate.

Carmen Naranjo
[1928-] She was born on January 30th in Cartago. The only one still living Costa Rican writers of international renown. A writer and poetess. Graduated primary school of Peru Republic in San Jose, Colegio de Senoritas in 1946 in San Jose, University of Costa Rica (Science and Literature specialization) and postgraduated studies in Autonomous University in Mexico and University of Iowa in USA. She was an ambassador of Costa Rica in Israel, assistant administrative manager in Institute of Social Insurance (CAJA), manager of Museum of Costa Rica Art. In 1970`s a Minister of Culture. Her first book "Cancion de la ternura" was issued in 1964. Was granted all Costa Rica`s major literature prizes: Magon [1996], Aquileo J. Echeverria [1966, 1971]. In 1991 was granted doctorate honoris causa in University of Santo Domingo in Dominicana. In 1996 obtained the prestiguous chilean prize in honour of Gabriela Mistral. Her works were translated into a few languages.

Enrigue Echandi
[1866-1959]. Was born on February 17th. Considered to be the first educated Costa Rica`s painter. Graduated painting courses in Germany (Leipzig and Munich). On coming back proposed government to establish first art school in Costa Rica but the suggestion failed. In his house he organized famous evening art meetings on which gathered the most significant artist of the country. He specialized in landscape paintings with the lights-and-shades effects. In San Jose gallery of its name [av.2/calle5].

Fadrique Gutierrez
[1841-1897]. Was born on September 7th in Heredia. A painter, sculptor and architect. Graduated philosophy in San Tomas University in San Jose. Was tought by Italian sculptor Francesco Fortino, and French painter Achiles Bigot. All of his portaits are missing...

In 1858 due to the political reasons, was exhiled for El Salvador and Guatemala. In Guatemala graduated the architecture course. On coming back to Costa Rica within 1860-1870 sculpted many stone and wooden figures. Was also a designer of El Fortin Tower in Heredia and a dome of Alajuela Cathedral. As a result of his participation in the coup d`etat in 1870, was exhiled again from the country. In 1892 appeared again as a leader of the Agricultural Party. At the end of his life in Esparza, where he lived, called himself "the president of the country"...

Francisco Amighetti
[1907-]. A culptor and painter. He was born on June 1st in San Jose. His family was of Italian descent. Attended the main high school for boys in San Jose called the Liceo de Costa Rica. There his art teachers encouraged him to enroll in the Academy of Fine Arts. In the short time his cartoons were published in the artistic magazine "Reporterio Americano". During the 1930’s, he rebelled against the academic background rejecting traditional European schools and opted for Surrealism. Simultaneously he started being interested into xylographs. He was influenced by the xylographs of Der Bucker (German), Francisco Leal and Francisco Diaz de Leon (Mexican) artists. In 1934 together with his two colleagues he published an album of xylographs.

His impressionist landscapes gained the international recognition by the 1950’s and are currently considered to be one of the most highly-priced Costa Rican artwork. In suming up he created 500 works and that`s why he often is described as the most prolific artist in Costa Rica history.

Francisco Zuniga
[1912-1998]. Was born in San Jose. A sculptor and painter. Called "Paco". His love for art got from his father who was a sculptor of religious statues. In the years of 1927-1936 dedicated himself to paintings. At the beginning his art was influenced heavily by the Renaissance style. In 1934 together with other sculptor he published the album of xylographs. Often used the precolumbian motifs. In 1930`s one of the newspapers, the “Diario de Costa Rica” promoted several exhibitions on which were also the works of Zuniga. In 1935 won the Central American prize for a sculpture "Agonia de la raza" depicted an Indian warrior’s head.

In 1936 decided to study in Spain, but the Civil War broke out, and stayed in Mexico instead (for the rest of his life). There learned methods of sculptural production including metal smelting and stone carving and polishing. Worked with the painter Manuel Rodríguez Lozano, and would become one of the founders of La Esmeralda, the National School of Painting and Sculpture, teaching there between 1938 and 1970. He collaborated also with Oliverio Martinez in the monument depicting the Mexican Revolution. In 1940`s the Municipal Museum in New York, bought some of his drawings. In 1947 he married Elena Laborde in Mexico, with whom he had three children. His most famous sculptures are" "Monumento a la Madre" (it stands in front of Hospital of Woman and "Monumento al Agricultor" (close to the Juan Santamaria Airport"). On November 2001 his sculpture "Maternidad en Cuclillas" was sold in New York for 192.750 $.

Isaac Felipe Azofeifa
[1909-1997]. Was born in Santo Domingo de Heredia. A poet and professor of Literature. Specialized in love and erotic writings. Studied in the university in Chile. In 1940`s was a member in The Center of Sciences on National Problems, that later transformed into The Nacional Liberation Party. In 1983 he worked as a Costa Rica ambassador in USSR. In 1990 he was a leader of the minority Progressive Party. In 1998 he got the chilean cultural prize - a medal in honour of Gabriel Minstral.

Joaquin Garcia Monge
[1881-1958]. Was born on January 20th in Desamparados. A writer and essaist. In 1899 graduated Liceo de Costa Rica and in 1901 left to study in Chile. In 1900 issued first novel "El Moto". In 1904 has come back to Costa Rica where taught in high schools. In 1915 a menager of Escuela Normal in Heredia and since 1920 of Library of National University. A former minister of Culture. In 1921 founded a magazine "American repertory". The library in Desamparados also bears its name. In 1958 was granted a title "a homeland`s person of merit".

Joaquin Gutierrez
[1918-2000]. A writer, novelist and journalist. An author of the fairytail for children "Cocori", translated into 11 languages (including Braille). He translated into Spanish the Shakespear works: "Hamlet", "King Lear", "Makbet", "Antoine and Cleopatra". The first poems he wrote in the age of 19. In 1937 published "The poetry". In 1974, got the prize for "Manglar" novel from the British Encyclopedia. Other important novels: "La Hoja de Aire" (1968), "Muramonos Federico" (1973), "Puerto Limon" (1950) i "Te acordas, Hermano" (1978). A winner of the biggest culture prize of Costa Rica - Magon Prize (1975).

He was born in Limon province. In San Jose attended to catholic high school, where learned playing the chess. Then his father sent him to New York to learn English. Three times, in 1938, 1939 and 1944 was a nacional champion in chess. In 1940 left for Chile, where worked as a translator in Reuter Agency. There got married with Elena. On coup d`etat in Chile, in 1973, when general Augusto Pinochet got the power, due to the collaborance with leftist newspaper, he was in danger and after diplomatic intervension by Costa Rican president Jose "Pepe" Figueres, he was allowed to come back. A few years later he emigrated to China, in order to translate Mao Tse Tung works. Stayed also in USRR and Vietnam. In 1993 was granted a doctorate honoris causa of National University. In 1995 Chile government granted him the cultural prize - a medal in honour of Gabriel Mistral.

Jose Francisco Salazar
[1892-1968]. Was born on April 4th. A designer and painter. In 1920 made a Templo de Musica in Francisco Morazan Park in San Jose. Designed Club Union and Edificio Medicino in San Juan de Dios Hospital in San Jose.

Jose Maria Zeledon Brenes
[1877-1949]. He was born on April 27th in San Jose. Called Billo. A journalist and poet. Lost his parents as a child. In 1903 wrote words for national anthem. In 1920 a member of Parliament (his salary was handling for two primary schools). Published three volumes of poem: "Musa nueva", "Jardin para Ninos", "Alma infantil". In 1977 was granted a title "a homeland`s person of merit". In Curridabat there is a barrio of its name.

Macedonio Quesada
[-1995]. Was born in Barmejo, a small village in province of Cartago. Folk sculptor making the figures from the gnarled coffee roots. He began sculpting in the age of 5. At the beginning his art was limited only to making the X-mas toys for his sisters and brothers. Then he moved to Cachi (Cartago province), where in 1988 built two-floored, wooden gallery - "the house of dream". He kept claiming that the wood has the inside energy. In 1995 he got the Nacional Prize of Popular Art. Today his works are displayed in the insides of Costa Rica banks and government offices in San Jose.

Olger Villegas
[1934-]. [Olger Villacruz]. A painter and sculptor. Graduated George Washington`s primary school in San Ramon, then the Academy at Ministry of Education. In 1951 attended the University of Costa Rica (Plastic Art speciality) and subsiquently attended the National School of Paint and Sculpture in Mexico. On coming back taught in different art schools. An author of busts of Arnoldo Herrero (Conservatorio Castellano, Heredia), Delio Arguedas (Colegio Santa Maria de Guadelupe, Heredia), Nicolas Ulloa (Central Park, Heredia). In the years of 1991-1993 made the monument of Garantias Sociales on rondo in Zapote. In 1998 made the 4-meter high monument of Daniel Oduber Quiros in Morazan Park, San Jose.

© 2004; SLUPSK; Rafal Cezary Piechocinski