Gómez, Pedro Nel (1899–1984) By Gordon, Catherin
Born in Medellín, Colombia on July 4, Pedro Nel Gómez influenced a generation of artists as the first muralist in Colombia, and as a radical figure who insisted on the independence of artistic creation. Not only was he a controversial figure, but he earned significant recognition for accomplishments as artist, architect, civil engineer, urban planner, and diplomat. Gómez developed a form of social realism that sought to reflect the essence of the reality experienced during this period. Between 1935 and 1938 he completed his first mural series in fresco at the Municipal Palace of Medellín. In the mural triptych entitled de la Bordadora a los Telares, el Problema del Petróleo y la Energía, y el Trabajo y la Maternidad the artist contends with issues of industrialization and labor conditions. This work also reflects his commitments to national development as a member of the Board of Public Works in Medellín. After World War II, the question of nuclear arms becomes a central motif in Gómez’s mythical realism. The artist’s artistic accomplishments contributed to the development of Modern Art in Colombia, and comprise the heart of the nation’s cultural heritage.