Sons of the Pampa

Discover traditional costumes of Argentine Gauchos through the painting collection at the Colección de Arte Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat

By Colección AMALITA

Colección de Arte Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat

The Heights of San Isidro (1865) by Prilidiano PueyrredónColección AMALITA


A gaucho means a farm hand and herd guardian in the vast pasture areas in the Argentine pampa. Around this figure, a whole culture has developed, with its own tradition, rites and outfits which have been preserved and cultivated to this day, inspiring many painters, not only Argentinians.   

Sorting in the Corral by Prilidiano PueyrredónColección AMALITA

Prilidiano Pueyrredón (Buenos Aires, 1823-1870) 

Painter and architect Prilidiano Pueyrredón was General Juan Martín de Pueyrredón's only son. In 1835, the entire family moved to Europe; Prilidiano was then 12 years old. He lived in different cities of Europe and South America until 1854, when he made his definitive return to Buenos Aires. It was then that Pueyrredón began to paint intensively, especially portraits. He also produced some paintings of the female nude, a theme that was almost unthinkable at that time, of which two survive. At the same time, a good portion of his production was dedicated to landscape and folk genres. Pueyrredón's labor in the areas of architecture and urban planning played an authentically significant role. 

Sorting in the Corral depicts the activity of separating bovine livestock from one corral to another, undoubtedly with the aim of slaughtering them. The riders in the distance rustle the cattle while the owner of the hacienda, dressed in a frock coat, observes the scene alongside the overseer, close to the corral gate.

Hat, shirt, openwork pants and chiripá...

The Overseers by Prilidiano PueyrredónColección AMALITA

In The Overseers, the central focus is on two men who appear in the foreground while the low horizon of the plains reaches back behind them, where peons participating in the rodeo can be seen. The two main characters use typical attributes and are dressed in fine clothes...

with long chiripá (baggy trousers), pants...

a whip, stirrups, boots, and spurs...

a rastra (wide belt) and a facón (long knife).

Head scarf and hat...

Frock coat, handkerchief...

... and a rope.

Quirno’s Dairy Farm (1873) by Antonio GazzanoColección AMALITA

Antonio Gazzano (Buenos Aires,1845)

Gazzano was born in Buenos Aires in 1845 and died in the same city on a date that has not been recorded. He was the son of Juan Gazzano, the proprietor of a hotel in Luján, in the province of Buenos Aires, and worked in painting and drawing. We have little information about his education in Argentina, but it is known that he received support from the government to study in Europe. Given his ancestry, he chose to study in Florence, Italy. In 1866 he was already back in Argentina, where he worked as a professor of drawing and painting in courses at the Universidad de Buenos Aires and in his own studio.

Quirno’s Dairy Farm is a typical 19th-century painting of a rural theme. The oil painting shows us a group of animals in the foreground –some cows grazing– and a peasant with his horse, taking a break.

In his attire, we can recognize the typical elements of gaucho clothing.

Hunting Ostriches (1845) by Johan Mortiz RugendasColección AMALITA

Johan Moritz Rugendas (Augsburg, 1802 - Weilheim, 1858)

Born in Augsburg, Germany, in 1802. He began drawing under the tutelage of his father, Johann Lorenz Rugendas, and then continued with Albrecht Adam, a painter of war scenes. In 1817 he enrolled in Munich's art academy, where he became interested in nature studies and he painted the mountains of Bavaria. Rugendas was in Argentina twice, in the summer of 1838, in the provinces of Mendoza and San Juan, and from March to June of 1845, in Buenos Aires. His production reveals his commitment to the romanticism of his day in terms of representing the nature, people and customs found in the New World.

Although the title draws attention to the ostrich, the main character in this work is the federal gaucho.

The countryman is attired in red chiripá (pants) with a subtle border design, a sash that holds his facón (long knife) in place...

a jacket to match and a top hat with a band bearing the federal badge, also seen on the crest of the horse’s mane and on his tail.

Behind, another gaucho follows, wearing a poncho.

Amid Peachtrees in Bloom (1915) by Fernando FaderColección AMALITA

Fernando Fader (Bordeaux, 1882 - Córdoba, Argentina 1935)

Fernando Fader was born in Bordeaux, France, in 1882. Two years later, his family moved to Mendoza. The artist studied drawing and painting in the Royal Institute of Arts and Science in Munich. He returned to Mendoza in 1904. At 22 years of age, he set up his studio in his parents' home and opened a painting academy where he taught using the same methods with which he had been taught in Munich, working from a live model instead of copying from plaster casts and prints. His work is characterized by an interest in capturing light, borrowing from sources in naturalist painting and impressionism; his favorite subject matter was landscape and the people of Córdoba's sierras.

In this scene, the girl is being courted by a countryman on a plantation of peach trees in bloom. She is wearing a simple long dress...

while his figure stands out due to the blue poncho.

On his feet, he has espadrilles and spurs.

Herd of horses (1907) by Fernando FaderColección AMALITA

The most important characteristic of a gaucho was his quality of a skilled horseman. It was said that a gaucho without a horse was only half a man.
Besides painting, gauchos were praised in legends, folklore and literature, and became one of the national symbols of Argentina.

Credits: Story

Colección de Arte Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Related theme
We Wear Culture
The stories behind what we wear
View theme
Google apps