One of the many artistic currents that have emerged in the world over time is costumbrismo . A way to show all the customs and folklore that are rooted in a certain place. A type of movement that had influences in most artistic sectors including painting , literature and theater .


What is Costumbrismo?


Costumbrismo is a type of artistic movement that seeks to express and represent the customs and traditions of a particular place that have been disappearing due to the introduction of new cultures or by society itself.



Among the main characteristics of manners, the following are mentioned:

  • It is an artistic medium that is used in order to reflect and show the reality that society faces.
  • Formerly it was characterized by providing a more accurate vision regarding the trips that were made around the world.
  • The authors usually perform a number of critical to the company using this style of satirical writing .
  • Its main objective was to be able to make societies understand and know culture well .
  • In literature, he uses very simple language and sometimes a bit colloquial .
  • In Latin America the nationalism and regionalism that the Creole inhabitants of the place had was represented mainly .
  • The narrations were characterized by having an omniscient narrator who was presented with a fictitious name and who also left a moral or some kind of lesson for others.


It could be said that costumbrismo had its origins basically since art was born since many of the works made from Ancient Greece and the Middle Ages already have costumbristas elements included. Experts consider that as a movement itself it had its origins at the beginning of the 19th century together with a series of changes that occurred in society in terms of politics and economics. Many also believe that it was born in Spain , when the nineteenth century was just beginning and that its main antecedent was Romanticism , which was gradually displaced in order to show a reality from a more objective point of view .

The historical context that was lived in Europe was related to the Industrial Revolution and the French Revolution while in Latin America , the context was based on the different struggles to achieve independence that took place in the place and in the first years that its inhabitants achieved finally enjoy as independent countries.

Costumbrismo in painting

In the field of painting, costumbrismo was known by the name of genre painting and has basically the same purpose as in literature, to show through very typical scenes the society in which one lives as well as the culture . This type of trend in the art of painting began thousands of years ago, basically from prehistoric times . In the Middle Ages , manners in painting was based above all on religion , leaving aside customs and the true motive of the movement.

Already for the Baroque period , the panorama for this type of art changed considerably and they began to reflect traditional scenes with greater importance. In Spain, for example, there were two important schools, the Andalusian one represented by Bécquer and the Inspiración de Goya.

Costumbrismo in literature

It is very likely that literature has and is the most widely used means to represent manners. As a literary style , the movement was dedicated to making a series of descriptions about the different daily activities also recalling important moments in the history of a place. It was a way of offering the reader a more concrete, real , direct and easy to understand type of reading .

Spanish costumbrismo

Spanish customs was a mainly literary artistic trend through which the customs that existed in Spanish society throughout the nineteenth century were exposed . It emerged shortly after romanticism when the bourgeoisie began to mourn the loss of the traditional customs and values ​​of the Spanish peasants . It was based mainly on the use of political satire and the picturesque.

Peruvian Costumbrismo

It can be said that Peru was the only place where Costumbrismo managed to introduce and establish a literary school . Its primary purpose in the country was to be able to identify and build at the same time a real identity of the Peruvian being . He expressed a lot of love for the local and for everything related to the customs that occurred at the time, he also tried to express through the use of satire and humor , the crisis that arose in the place. He described the customs using an anecdotal tone and a bit of mockeryand it was developed mainly through theater and journalism .

Colombian custom

In Colombia, costumbrismo appeared around the 1830s and 1880s . It was introduced to the place by means of a group of landowners who, although they were not literary artists, took advantage of their free time to write articles , chronicles and even novels related to society and rural work . Its main purpose was to be able to debate on moral and political aspects . He used a completely regional type of prose and described places in addition to the social environment. It was a movement that sought at all times to defend the country from foreign influence.

Mexican customs

In this country, the movement was born in 1836 . It arose as a result of the influence of the Lateran Academy and a project that existed that had the purpose of the Mexicanization of literature. The development of this genre in Mexico had two great moments, the first between the years 1836 and 1870 when the manners manifestations tried to influence the formation of a totally Mexican identity and a second moment between the years 1870 and 1890 when the costumbrismo took more importance in novels as a means of criticizing the life and customs of the place.

Dominican custom

In this country, the costumbrismo was well reflected thanks to the works of the artist Marco Antonio Mártire Borrel . This current has been inspired by the indigenous aspects of the country due to the concern that foreign currents damage the identity and culture of the country. The typical characters stand out in the works, the way of life and the environment of the place. The way of dressing, work and fun of the place are represented by means of a true festival of colors.

Featured Authors

Some of the most prominent authors of the genre of manners are the following:

  • Jose Eugenio Diaz Castro
  • Jorge Isaacs
  • Mariano José de Larra
  • Sebastián Miñano and Bedoya
  • Serafín Estébanez Calderón
  • Antonio Maria Segovia
  • Santos López Pelegrín

Examples of traditional works

Among the most recognized works of the genre we can find as an example:

  • Manuela: novel of Colombian customs by Eugenio Díaz Castro
  • The new traditional customs of Juan Antonio Ríos
  • The Spaniards Painted By Themselves by Enrique Rubio
  • Madrid customs by José Escobar
  • The old Castilian of Mariano José de Larra
  • My lost moments by Ramón de Mesonero Ramos
  • The sarniento parakeet by Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi

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