Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Maida Watson

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Renée Silverman

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Nicola Gavioli

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Astrid Arrarás

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


Costumbrismo, cuadros de costumbres, ekphrasis, nineteenth century, siglo XIX, Latin America, Colombia, literature, visual arts

Date of Defense



Influenced by nineteenth-century scientific trends, Costumbrismo was a literary and artistic genre combining aspects of Romanticism and Realism and presenting traditional customs of autochthonous daily life. Nineteenth-century cuadros de costumbres, or “sketches of manners,” often used local color to depict national scenes, regional types, and cultural traditions. The cuadros, comprised of short but illustrative writings published as periodical pamphlets, contained visually charged descriptive language infused with a didactic objective in order to shape readers’ perspectives about the nation and present specific sociopolitical philosophies.

This dissertation analyzes the connections between literature and art through the written cuadros de costumbres and the paintings of nineteenth-century Colombians (from 1830 to 1880). This study draws on a new understanding of the theory of ekphrasis (understood as the verbal representation of visual representation) and image-text criticism as established in recent scholarship and based on the theoretical approaches of Murray Krieger, James Heffernan, and W. J. T. Mitchell, among other contemporary scholars. It employs a novel approach to the ekphrastic analysis of literary works in comparison to the visual lithographs and paintings of noteworthy Colombian costumbristas. This study particularly explores how these cuadros represented nineteenth-century national spaces, women, and other marginalized groups.

In Colombia, the post-Independence sociopolitical context is crucial to understanding how the different regional elite intellectuals utilized Costumbrismo to portray their nation’s unique customs and traditions as seen through their particular political philosophy. It examines the Colombian works as taken to reveal a prevalent Conservative worldview over the Liberal political paradigm. I have selected relevant cuadros and artículos de costumbres published in periodicals and visual works from the nineteenth century by the following costumbristas, namely, Colombians José Manuel Groot (1800-1878) and Ramón Torres Méndez (1809-1885) in addition to other writers of cuadros de costumbres, studied in juxtaposition to corresponding paintings by Groot and Torres Méndez, as representatives of Colombian Conservative thought. Their works appeared in publications such as the newspaper El Mosaico (1858-1872) and the anthology Museo de cuadros de costumbres (1866).



ORCID 0000-0002-5166-3555



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