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a movement in the literature and fine arts of 19th-century Spain and Latin America. Arising out of the interest of romantics in folk life, costumbrismo was a turn toward a realistic portrayal of the world, expressing an upsurge of national consciousness and a desire to convey features of the people’s life, frequently with an idealization of patriarchal morals and customs.

In literature, costumbrismo developed primarily in the genre of the essay but was also given expression in the novel, drama, and poetry. The precursor of Spanish costumbrismo was S. de Mifiano (1799–1845), the author of the sharply critical essays Letters From a Poor Idler (1820). The establishment of costumbrismo in Spain is associated with the names of R. de Mesonero Romanes (1803–82), M. J. de Larra (1809–37), S. Estebanez Calderon (1799–1867), J. Somoza (1781–1852), S. Lopez Pelegrin (1801–6), and M. Lafuente (1806–66). In 1843, costumbristas published a collective work, Spaniards Depicted by Themselves, which brought about the appearance of many similar publications. The influence of costumbrismo was felt in the work of the regionalist writers A. de Trueba (1819–89) and J. M. de Pereda (1833–1906).

Costumbrismo arose in Latin America in the 1840’s. Important writers were J. J. Vallejo (1811–58) in Chile, J. de Dios Restrepo (1827–97) and T. Carrasquilla (1858–1940) in Colombia, F. Pardo (1806–68) and the poet R. Palma (1833–1919) in Peru, and J. B. Morales (1788–1856), M. Payno (1810–94), and the poet G. Prieto (1818–97) in Mexico.

Costumbrismo played an important role in the graphic arts and painting of Latin American countries. It was often linked to the scientific study of a country and was based on the documentarily accurate depiction of nature and the simple, attentive, and precise reproduction of the characteristics and colorful features of folk life and culture; at the same time the ethnographic motif in the works of the costumbristas frequently turned into lovingly recreated, at times idyllic, genre scenes. Costumbrismo realized the aesthetic value of nature and the events of day-to-day life and introduced simple people into the subject matter of Latin American art.

A significant school of costumbristas took shape in Cuba (V. P. Landaluce, 1825–89; F. Mialhe, 1800–68). Costumbrismo also developed in Colombia (R. Torres Mendez, 1809–85), Argentina (C. Morel, 1813–94), Uruguay (J. M. Besnes y Irigoyen, 1788–1865), Chile (M. A. Caro, 1835–1903), and Mexico (J. A. Arrieta, 1802–79).


Polevoi, V. M. Iskusstvo stran Latinskoi Ameriki. Moscow, 1967.
Spell, J. R. “The Costumbrista Movement in Mexico.” Publications of the Modern Language Association of America, 1935, vol. 50.
Costumbristas españoles, vols. 1–2. Edited by E. Correa Calderón. Madrid, 1950–51.
Duffey, F. M. The Early “Cuadro de Costumbres” in Colombia. Chapel Hill, N.C, 1956.
Rojas, M., and M. Carrizzo. Los costumbristas chilenos. [Santiago de Chile, 1957.]
References in periodicals archive ?
Lifshey points out that Ninay follows many of the conventions of the costumbrismo literary genre popular in Spain at the time, in which fictional texts were set in faraway locations and colorfully described local customs for the benefit of European readers.
2) Rodrigues le dio al teatro brasileno, atrapado en un ciclo de frioleras comerciales y un costumbrismo social nacional poco interesante, todo un esquema de nuevos valores teatrales que ayudo a estimular el enorme desarrollo de nuevas propuestas en el teatro brasileno a partir de los anos 50, influyendo tambien en el cine nacional en la medida que gran numero de sus textos dramaticos tuvieron una segunda vida como guiones de excelentes films provocadores.
Ocasio shows that, like minstrelsy, costumbrismo is much more complex and nuanced than it has been painted.
City, Costumbrismo and Stereotypes: Populist Discourse and Popular Culture in Edgar Neville's El crimen de la calle Bordadoras (1946).
La aparicion del costumbrismo se debe al gusto por el ambiente local para continuar el tradicional realismo castellano en una epoca llena de imaginacion.
From 1922 to 1926, Carre returned Galician theater to the less innovative costumbrismo on 22 October 1922.
A sunny oil sketch of Children in the Sea (1899) was a study for the uncharacteristically sombre painting Sad Inheritance that won Sorolla the Grand Prix at the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1900, while the figure of La Marcelina, Montehermoso (1917) in regional dress reappears in the series of Visions of Spain commissioned for the Hispanic Society of New York at the height of the Spanish fashion for costumbrismo.
Postmodern costumbrismo is yet another label applied.
Some of the early stories in the collection that have Castilla la Vieja--or, as the new map of Spain calls it, Castilla-Leon--as their setting ("El agostero," for example) evoke the same love of the land as Antonio Machado's poems, and when Sampedro shifts to an urban setting such as Madrid (in "Un dia feliz"), we have the very best of nuevo costumbrismo.
A su vez, el paisaje y el costumbrismo tambien estan ausentes en las novelas de Suez.