García Cardona, an outstanding veterinarian, graduate of the School of
Veterinary Medicine of the University of Caldas, is also well-known today
as a sculptor who specializes in “arte taurino”, or bullfighting art. He
was drawn to such art because of his great fondness of and loyalty to the
“fiesta brava”, which has made him internationally famous and respected in
the world of bullfighting."
a biographical sketch of Germán García Cardona as a friend and aficionado
of the bullfight is not an easy task… "
are very few times that life gives us the splendid opportunity to talk
about a friend that has achieved the pinnacle of happiness, if we take
this to mean the capacity of being who we really are. "
have here a self-educated man, who because of his fondness of bulls
and bullfighting decided to trade his veterinary knowledge for that of
Ramon Ospina M.
greatness is divine, his art is divine. Olé for the true sculptors!"
Enrique Calvo "El Cali"
sculptures of his bulls are the essence of perfection that a
self-educated man can aspire to."
García Cardona, an
outstanding veterinarian, graduate of the School of Veterinary Medicine of
the University of Caldas, is also well-known today as a sculptor who
specializes in “arte taurino”, or bullfighting art. He was drawn to such
art because of his great fondness of and loyalty to the “fiesta brava”,
which has made him internationally famous and respected in the world of
good professional he acquired a scientific and technical skill of animal
anatomy and the sketches and drawings that he did during his student and
intern days were very promising exercises that would later take
enthusiasm and love of bullfighting became a fever and caused him to stop
his veterinary practice so he could dedicate himself full-time to the
thorough study of bullfighting art. He began to take pictures at the
bullfights that he attended, capturing in the camera the most interesting
and exciting moments of each bullfight, concentrating on the movements of
the bull and bullfighter, and giving equal importance to both as should be
done. He is also known for his work as a taxidermist, with the most
outstanding pieces of the collection being the heads of young bulls that
are exhibited in the Plaza de Toros of Cartagena and in other private
Cardona uses bronze to sculpt his works of art of the bullfighter and bull
in the midst of the fight. His artistic sensibility poured into bronze
gives the sculptures a sense of force that in the bullfighter reflects his
surrender, bravery and art; and in the bull, his breed, wickedness and
nobility. He has been invited to exhibit his works in various cities in
this country and Madrid, Sevilla and Málaga, as well as Nimes, Arles and
other cities in France.
recognize and pay homage to the life and work of this sculptor. In this
way we exhibit his art to the public, artists, art critics and workers of
this culture, who will have at their disposition a valuable material which
will allow them to enter into the fascinating and magical world of the
“fiesta brava”, the bullfight.
Making a biographical sketch of Germán
García Cardona as a friend and aficionado of the bullfight is not an easy
It was during the hot days of
December 1974 in salty Barranquilla, when I met him for the first time in
an alley of the then- Monumental Bullfighting Ring of the Caribbean; and
what a paradox because in Barranquilla up until this time there were two
more bullfighting rings, the Magdalena and the Linares which were
overflowing with people from Antioquia and Barranquilla. Today this lovely
city with its fervent love for
bullfighting does not have any
bullfighting ring, the closest now being the Plaza de Toros in Cartagena
The implacable wandering of
time continues and I keep seeing up close not only the great aficionado,
but also the professional: veterinary doctor, outstanding surgeon in the
specialty of dogs and cats. But behind that , the gladiator, capable of
sharing time between his profession and his love of the bullfight, which
brought him to all of the cattle ranches on the Atlantic Coast where there
were bulls that would be used in bullfighting.
As a practical aficionado, I
saw him act with what we call “sobrados” for those brave people that
attempt to demonstrate their knowledge and skill. At this time he began to
carry a camera, with which little by little he began to show talent for
capturing a throw, goring, or simple picture postcard at the precise
Germán has a valuable “video
bullfighting library” that was created with the effort of his invaluable
fondness for the art and the support of friends that had the desire to
delve deeper every day into the world of the “toro bravo”.
I became aware of his taxidermy
skill when, in my debut as a “ganadero”, I saw with surprise the heads of
the bulls from my ranch that had participated in bullfights at the Plaza
de Toros of Cartagena, stuffed almost to perfection, when they were being
exhibited in the Plaza.
Later on in 1997, I learned
that Germán had also stuffed the head of the first steer of mine that had
participated in a bullfight, in the “Cañaveralejo” bullring in the city of
Cali, in memory of our beloved and unforgettable Carlos Borráez.
Apart from all of this, I had
the fortune that Germán García was my friend and a great taxidermist, who
with his work recreated the valuable breeding bull “Ramito”, imported from
the Cebada Gago ranch in Spain, who died after falling from a high slope
on my ranch in Bogotá. And when I say “reconstruct”, I say it because in
the great rush of not letting the bull’s hide get damaged, it was cut very
badly; but thanks to his experience, that beautiful head is in my living
room, alive, expressive and imposing.
This man keeps working at
taxidermy and has also stuffed the heads of the bulls from “Las Ventas del
Espíritu Santo” ranch that fought in Cali and Medellín in 1998. And to the
joy of those of us who know and love him, he still is living strong after
suffering two serious heart attacks.
What a believer, what a passion
for life, what will to overcome, what talent, what marvelous hands…Now God
wants all of those who love the bullfight to admire the work that he
started in 1994; to be able to see these magnificent works of bronze, the
material known as “the flesh of the immortals”, like la Cacerina of
Medellín and other smaller formats that have been exhibited in Colombia,
Spain, France, the United States and Japan, among other places.
As a colophon, I want to say
that I know all of the bullfighting facets of Germán García, because from
a great distance I’ve followed all of the abatares, tasks, sadness and
happiness that bullfighting means for this great Colombian that is proud
of being so, and in whom all of the qualities and characteristics of the
true aficionado come together.
dawning of this year 2000, Medellín, with its love of the rejoneo, can
look forward to a spectacular exhibit of bullfighting as an appetizer of
what’s to come in what will be a new millennium of bullfighting. Bulls and
even toreros will die, but bullfighting will continue and even more so if
more aficionados like Germán García Cardona come into being
There are very few times that life gives us the splendid opportunity
to talk about a friend that has achieved the pinnacle of happiness, if we
take this to mean the capacity of being who we really are.
photographer and camerographer, a practical bull aficionado and finally a
The road is indeed long, no
doubt, it has been long and not easy, I would add…but has it been worth
it? Without a doubt, the answer is yes, and it should be “yes” with a
capital Y, because his life has been tremendous…
What does a man bring to the
encounter with himself? The search for happiness that will be the answer.
In the case of Germán García Cardona it is obvious, and how great
that it has been like this; not only for himself—which is the most
important—but also for those of us that are with him, those of us that
have been nourished by him, by his love of life, his generosity, his way
of being (truly Paisa) just like the big Antioquia, land of the pioneers
and personalities that surely rocked his cradle.
Paulo Coehlo says that “every
person can have two attitudes in his or her existence: to build or to
“Those that build may take many
years, but one day they finish what they were building. Then they stop and
find themselves trapped by their own walls. Life loses its meaning when
the building stops.
“Those that plant also suffer
with the storms and seasons and they rarely rest; but unlike a building, a
garden never stops growing. And at the same time that it requires the
attention of the gardener, it also makes life a great adventure for him”.
“El chorizuelo”—as we lovingly
call him—has been a very successful professional “planter”; he leaves the
field of veterinary medicine, knowing that when you travel in pursuit of a
very important objective, you pay attention to the road, since this is
what teaches us the best way to get there and enriches us while we make
the trip. Without a doubt, his work as an artist shows us his precise
knowledge of animal anatomy; his sculptures reflect a zest for life in the
movement that they capture, that only a true “taurino” can detect…
Possessing a successful destiny
as a veterinarian, he decides to challenge his own fate like the child
that, playing with his life, becomes a man. Like that, Germán, with mud
and clay, became a sculptor. As Pasteur said: “The opportunities are
always there, but only privileged minds see them and take advantage of
them”. In this way Germán made what is now his passion come to life: the
art of sculpting. He sees what we are not capable of seeing in bronze…he
makes it sing as if he were playing a guitar…he gives it life as though he
had the gift of the divine breath…
Because of this, today I again
thank Germán García Cardona for this splendid opportunity to thank him for
his brotherhood, which is a word of respect and reverence, a word of
prayer and hope. It is the rarest form of love, the least selfish form…
We have here a self-educated
man, who because of his fondness of bulls and bullfighting decided to
trade his veterinary knowledge for that of sculpting.
with clay in a get-together at Mi Casita and made a small bull’s head. It
was so good that he insisted on sculpting small bulls, maybe remembering
that he already had international fame as a taxidermist, since he had
stuffed an entire bull that the “taurinos” of Barranquilla loved, where
Peña El Prado was founded.
was at the Hotel El Prado for some time, and then it was taken to Japan,
where people admire it in a department store.
taurinos”, bars and even offices have bulls’ heads in them that have been
stuffed by Germán García.
sculptures were what he really wanted to do. His first major work was La
Cacerina, at La Macarena bullring, which was destroyed twice by vandals.
His exhibits in Medellín, which were supported in part by the authorities
and fans in Cali, Manizales, Barranquilla, Cartagena and several Spanish
cities, have received excellent reviews. He is finishing a life-sized bull
and plans on doing other works, including sculptures of rejoneadores.
problems, now thank God overcome, prevented him from taking his works to
Madrid, Sevilla, Málaga and other Spanish bullrings. Exhibits already
slated for Nimes, Arlés and Mont de Marsan in France mean that his works
are going to become even more internationally known, which for Colombian
art is as good as Germán García himself.
of everything “taurino” links him to the art that he loves most,
everything that has to do with the marvelous and colorful world of bulls.
This graphic exhibit is only the beginning of the artist, since we
have much to look forward to from his restless personality.
deserving respects are paid to some of his works, Germán should feel the
same excitement that he dreamed about feeling when he wanted to be a
victorious torero, dreaming about his adventures when he was known as
Chorizuelo, as he was then called.
said, and Germán García proves it, that behind every man is a great woman.
His wife Vicky has been and will always be such a woman; because in her
the voice of art and the passion of her husband have not only found their
most faithful admirer, but their strongest promoter as well.
Ramon Ospina M.
Germán, a kind and affable man, as
any good “Caldense”. I understand that as a boy he fell in love with the
most beautiful of celebrations, El Toreo. This has been the reason for his
existence. Every once in a while with a sword and muleta in hand he faces
death, “toreando” one cow or another on his friends’ ranches.
This love made him a
taxidermist, where the heads of “toros bravos” that forged histories in
the bullrings remain as if they were alive.
Maybe, for the aficionados, but
I don’t think for himself, he decides to dedicate himself to sculpting,
logically sculpting bulls. Very quickly he has developed his own style,
and day by day, exhibition by exhibition, a “gypsy” feeling emanates from
his veins and the bull in the country or in the bullring acquires a divine
greatness is divine, his art is divine. Olé for the true sculptors!
Enrique Calvo "El Cali"
has never even occurred to him to compare himself with Mariano
Benlliure or Sebastián Miranda. Those who like sculpting and painting,
with more curiosity and love for the art than technical knowledge, will
see in Germán García someone very much like Juan Cristóbal, the Spanish
sculptor profiled in an ingenious way by Antonio Díaz Cañabate in his book
Tertulia de anécdotas.
always looked at daily worries with disdain. His monetary disinterest is
one of his characteristics. The sculptures of his bulls are the essence of
perfection that a self-educated man can aspire to. His love of the
“fiesta” and everything that is related to it have made him study the
genealogy of the “toro bravo” very consciously, so he could give his works
a very natural aspect.
asked me to write something about his works, we became aware of what an
extraordinary artist and courageous man this is. Today he faces life with
the eagerness of the novice bullfighter, in spite of having suffered heart
attacks like gorings in the thigh. With new hopes and his ever-present
eagerness, he is preparing to present his new work, in which—to the
delight of the aficionados of the rejoneo—he dedicates beautiful
sculptures exclusively to this art.
remind us of the monumental statue of the Cid Campeador, sculpted by Juan
Cristóbal in Burgos, where it seems that Babieca is flying instead of
galloping, carrying Don Rodrigo brandishing his sword.
who has had a second chance, is a man who is happy with his
accomplishments. He keeps his faith in the future and happiness. He hopes
to live many years, because just like the bullfighters, he says that his
best work is yet to come.
Text taken from "ESCULTURA TAURINA" done by Medellin city hall for
the expostion realized in the capital of Antiocia in