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Costa Rican paintings do not seem to imitate the European or native styles, rather it is a combination of the two styles. Again as with most cultural aspects in Costa Rica, the Catholic religion has influenced this area and many of the most important paintings were done in or for the churches and demonstrated for the public. Later, as art became more popular, many struggling artists pushed for a more formalized learning venue.

Art in general is something that only the wealthy had access to at the beginning of the 19th century. At first, wealthy Costa Ricans and foreigners had their portraits done and purchased art as a status symbol. Costa Ricans were educated in the areas of drawing, oil painting, water colors, and even sculpture.

This is when Mauro Fernandez helped to establish the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes, the National School of Arts in 1897, which was controlled by Tomas Povedano, a renowned Spanish painter.

Costa Rican’s are best known for their unique expression of design on typical oxcarts which they have decorated with bright colors and geometric designs throughout the years. As for inspiration, Costa Rica is any artist’s paradise with a plethora of interesting landscapes and breathtaking scenery.

Currently the Ministry of Culture is very involved in promoting the arts, and therefore sponsors art lessons and Sunday exhibitions at city parks. There are also University art galleries, the Museo de Arte Costarricense, and many smaller galleries scattered throughout San Jose where one can see many different genres of painting.

Some of Costa Rica’s most important painters include: - Jose Maria Figueroa - Faustino Montes de Oca - Felipe Valentini. - Ezequiel Jimenez - Wenceslao de la Guardia - Enrique Echandi - Gonzalo Morales Suarez - Rafa Fernandez - Fernando Carballo - Darienne Vanston - Francisco Zuniga - Luisa Gonzalez de Saenz - Teodorico Quiros - Rodolfo Stanley - Jose Araya - Fabio Herrara - Manuel Zumbado - Edgar Zuniga - Max Jimenez - Luis Daell - Francisco Amiguetti - Margarita Berthau

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