Biography of Antonio Herrera Toro (1857-1914)

Venezuelan painter, born in Valencia (Carabobo) on January 16, 1857 and died in Caracas on June 26, 1914.

Son of Juan José Herrera and Teresa Toro, studied first at the colegio La vignette, Caracas, where he was Professor Adolfo Ernst. From 1870 he was a pupil of Martín Tovar y Tovar , José Manuel Maucó at the Academy of fine arts in Caracas. His special talent earned him for getting a Government grant in 1875 thanks to which toured France and Italy. He studied art in Paris and Rome, in the latter city entered the international circle of fine arts.

In 1879 he returned to Venezuela and settled in Caracas, where he received important commissioned by the Archbishop of the city, José Antonio Ponte, which should return to Rome. It was not until 1881 when returned to Caracas, after sketches of the assumption of the Virgin, which went on to perform at the Cathedral. Two years later he painted the death of the liberator, work presented in the exhibition of the centenary of the birth of Simón Bolívar, which won some success.

In 1884 he travelled around Peru and took plenty of notes that subsequently took in two of his works, the battle of Junín and the battle of Ayacucho, paintings they commissioned by the Government to its master Tovar y Tovar, but they ended up doing Herrera Toro.

Back in Caracas was mainly devoted to the realization of portraits, although this time the pictures are: La Caridad (1886) and the death of Ricaurte in San Mateo (1889). It was in the facet of portrait photographer where noted, although the historical pictures already mentioned - the death of the liberator, La Caridad and the death of Ricaurte in San Mateo - are considered his finest works.

Apart from his facet as a painter, Herrera also collaborated in numerous periodicals such as El Cojo illustrated and was the founder of the newspaper the rogue. In 1892 he was appointed Director of buildings and ornament, and in 1908, Director of the Academy of fine arts, where, together with Pedro Arismendi Brito, performed an important role in reorganization, whose most notable point was the drafting in 1911 of the regulation of the Institute of fine arts, which were divided on the one hand a section of painting and sculpture and on the othera music and Declamation. Despite its reforms, Student discontent was growing and a strike that led to the creation of the Círculo de Bellas Artes took place in 1912. Despite everything, Herrera Toro remained in the direction of the Academy until the moment of his death.

JACJ