1906 – Born in Bogotá, Colombia in the home of Luis Martinez Silva and Mercedes Mallarino de Delgado. He started his education under the tutoring of don Martín Restrepo Mejía and his high school at San Bartolomé. He also joined courses at the fine arts school under the tutoring of the Master Roberto Pizano.
1925 – to health issues he traveled to Cartagena, there he directed and illustrated some pages at the newspaper "La Patria". He used a fabricated name of "Sanmardel".
1926 – Travel to Chicago where he studied and worked for over five years at the Fine Arts Institute of Chicago under the tutoring of Ruth VanSickle Ford and Hugh M. Neuman.
1928 – He started a friendship and professional relation with Frank Lloyd Wright, who commissioned Martinez to do some tainted Glass work, Wood carvings and some paintings. Wright found the Masters lines to be elegant and his attitude gracious; Martinez spend time over the years at Taliesin where along with other of Wrght’s protégées they discussed about art, architecture and other cultural issues. Among his friend from Taliesin is Charles Morgan who visited him latter in life in Bogotá.
1929 – He won the very competitive art contest of the Latham Foundation; He won the first prize on the best add by the US Federation of Commercial Artists. He obtains the second please on the art interpretation contest of the “The Chicago Tribune”.
1933 – He won the Logan medal, for his mural of the Colombian evolution at the Chicago International World Fair and exposition.
1934 – He returns to Colombia with an innovative collection at the an vanguard of the country.
1935 – He made the linen of the Theater Municipal of Bogotá (missing), titled "the triumph of comedy over tragedy".
1936 – He founded the course of arte and decoration at the Universidad Javeriana femenina.
1937 - 1940. He made various drawings for the Magazine PAN, directed by the Colombian intellectual Uribe White. He also directed the magazine "Vida", he illustrated countless front pages living an idea of his line and incredible talent. This magazine was a monthly magazine of the Colombian National Insurance Company.
1938 – Martinez who was an avid historian and a protector of the Colombian artistic heritage; Found and old painting broken in two and left to collapse, but he recognized at the spot that it may be by Raphael de Urbino; after a hated debate and much research and debate called (THE DILEMA OF THE MADONNA OF BOGOTA) Martinez Delgado manages to prove by the way of provenance of the piece, X rays and detail forensic work that is indeed an original painting by Raphael; shortly he takes the piece to New York where experts form the Metropolitan, the Chicago Art Institute and lourve among them were: Daniel Catton, Rich A. Sweet, Ruber H. Clark, Leo A. Marzolo, Lionello Venturiy, Wilheim Valentiner. Confirm that is indeed and original Ráphael and is included in the artist catalog as the Madonna of Bogotá. The news of the find, when around the World.
1940 – Participated in the first Salón de Artistas Colombianos where he won the Gold Medal with the oil on canvas "El que volvió".
1941 – Participated in the second Salón de Artistas Colombianos and won the first price with his oil on canvas of his Mother and wife. (This piece is in the Colombian National Museum)
1943 – He made the mural of the school Presentación of Chapinero, he made extensive research for this piece. Master Ramos helped him living him some indications.
1945 - 1946. Collaborated with América Magazine, with drawings to illustrated the front pages.
1945 – Illustrated the biography about Sucre realized by Carlos Arturo Caparroso. (Editorial Horizontes,Bogotá). That year he was designated as Member of the Historic Academy of Bogotá.
1946 – Publish in the magazine América (# 24, December), an article about the life of Christ and the costumes of Palestine, where he explain his research for the 12 stations he made for the Cucuta Cathedral, of heroic proportions.
1946 – Participated at the VII Salón Anual de Artistas Colombianos with the oil on canvas "Alzamiento de Cristo".
1947 - he did, by commission of the then director of the OEA, Honorable Alberto Lleras Camargo and Inter American Conference organizer the Honorable Laureano Gomez, the mural of the Elliptic chamber National Congress Building. For that Mr. Martinez became the premier historian on Bolivar and his army. He finished in time for the Inter American conference but during the Bogotazo a mob almost burned the capitol. General Marshall of the US called the piece a wonder of contemporary art. Master Martinez was given the Cruz de Boyacá award by President Ospina.
1948 – Founded his own commercial art office. In there he made various traded like radio producer. He wrote and directed the dramatization of scripts. He presented the Novel “soap opera” Virrey Solis, that broke all the ratings for the year also made plays like "Estampas Místicas de la tierra del Señor"; "Juan Manuel el Gavilán" (inedited) and many more.
1953 – Started to Saint an oil on canvas of 8 x 4 meters for the Hall of the national City Bank of Bogotá, He died before finish it. But it was set on the Bank as is and it remained the largest oil on canvas in Colombia, Nelson Rockefeller and his brothers ask to be kept there.
1954 - January 12. Died in the hacienda "El Molino", victim of a stroke.
1954 - August 3. The National Museum, with the collaboration of the Education Ministry, organized an exposition in his honor.
About his life in the US:
The Chicago Academy of Fine Arts
By 1928, Antonio Martinez the Master's older brother became the Colombian Consul in Chicago. He had observed the master's ability and assisted him on making the preparations to travel with him to Chicago.
As Walt Disney and others before him Martinez, found Ruth VanSickle Ford, who was instrumental in Martinez Delgado's development; she was not only generous but she helped Master Martinez by getting him the commission at the 1933 fair and other projects. By the time of his graduation Mr. Hugh M. Newman the Academy Director said: You are the greatest artist that has walked these hallways during our generation.
For information about Ruth Van Syncle Ford click this link
Master Martinez at the 1933 - 1934 Chicago International Fair (A Century of Progress)
Master Martinez Delgado was commissioned one of the walls at the General Exhibits to make a mural. He painted a magestic piece of the the Colombian Progress during the last century. The mural was well composed in the Art Deco style and it impressed must art critics of the time.
Diego Rivera who was in NY painting the Rockefeller plaza entrance, visited Chicago during the fair and said: "That the mural is a Master piece of contemporary art".Nelson Rockefeller said: this is exquisite in detail and rich in talent; Mr. Rockefeller considered Master Martinez Delgado to finish Rivera’s Mural at the plaza due to the scandal caused by the inclusion of Lenin in the mural; but Master Martinez Delgado was unable to do it for reasons unknown today. Nelson Rockefeller would latter commission Martinez for the larges canvas in Colombian History for the city Bank Colombia Building. This Master piece at the International Fair would earn Martinez The prestigious Logan Medal that was the highest honor in the arts in the Chicago area during the 20’s and 30’s.
More About Martinez in Chicago
Martinez Won the following Prices while attending school in Chicago:
* Logan Medal for Mural at the 3rd pavilion of the General exhibit @ the 1933 Chicago International Fair "Century of Progress"
* The Latham Foundation Art Contest 1932
* Best add for the US Federation of Commercial Artist 1934 Top award for the prominent Masterpiece Interpretation of the
Disciple of Frank Lloyd Wright
Master Martinez Delgado lives on and off with Frank Lloyd Wright and his Taliesin Fellows while a student at the Fine Arts Academy of Chicago from 1932 to 1935. Wright commissioned Martinez to make wooden sculptures and stained windows among other pieces during his time there.
Martinez later on in his life would remember with much appreciation his lessons and discussions at Taliesin describing them like the old masters of the renaissance and their disciples. Wright was quoted: Young Columbian Santiago Martinez argues a bit much about the stroke of this project nevertheless; Taliesin needs more like him, to make the debates stand the transient of the facts.
In 1939 one of his mates at Taliesin Mr. Charles Morgan spend some time in Bogotá while making plans to bring some of Wright’s ideas in to the Bogotá’s landscape; unfortunately they were unable to start due to local political upheaval and latter due to the early death of Master Martinez.
It is said that Wight always admired the tenacity of Martinez for the decorative arts. Wright awarded Martinez with the invention of the tropical Deco; as the stained Windows Martinez did had a sense of the tropics in the style of the contemporaneous Art Deco.
El Lio de La Madonna de Bogota (About the Madonna of Bogota by Raphael Sanzio)
In 1938 Mrs. Maria Mendoza a friend of Master Martinez invited him and his wife Leonor Concha de Martinez to her home in Bogotá Colombia. Mrs. Mendoza had with her a painting she thought to be by Vazquez Arce y Ceballos a well-known Colombian artist, so based in the Fact that Martinez was considered an expert in Art History, she wanted him to attribute the piece. As soon as Master Martinez laid eyes on the painting he immediately knew that it was either by Raphael Sanzio or his school and that it was much older.
The piece was in very poor condition broken in two and keep together by some wire. Master Martinez took the painting for further archives study and scientific research after x rays and other steps, he was convinced that he was in front of a Raphael piece.
When the rumor about the painting started, the press was quick to start a debate about it some dismiss like an article in el Tiempo that argued it was a copy of a Raphael piece currently at the Prado Museum in Madrid.
Soon the Master called for a symposium at the municipal theater to talk about his find; the event was attended by well known Colombian experts like: Enrique Uribe White, Antonio Bergmann, Domingo Otero and Ines Acevedo Biester. Martinez explained the provenance and the scientific work of the piece making it irrefutable that this was indeed a Madonna by Raphael; brought to Colombia by Caballero Góngora. Furthermore, Mr. Enrique Restrepo proved that although it was similar to the one in El Prado it was different in many aspects and pointed to the fact; that the one in Madrid was in el Escorial Chapel during a very long time making it impossible to be copied during the 1500’s.
Finally in 1939 Martinez brought the piece to New York, Where in the Metropolitan Museum and alter at Columbia University the piece was studied by Daniel Catton, Rich A. Sweet, Ruber H. Clark, Leo A. Marzolo, Lionello Venturiy, and Wilheim Valentiner the foremost authority on Raphael in the world who was in NY for the International Fair. In June 1939 The piece was confirm as an original by the great renaissance Master Raphael and was entered in the catalog of this artist paintings as THE MADONNA OF BOGOTA.
The piece was taken to the Chicago Art Institute to be Restored.
Joaquin Pineros Corpas confirm it for the hole country on an Article in el Tiempo; “CONFIRMADO: MADONNA DE BOGOTA POR RAFAEL SANZIO URBINO” Many US paper acclaim Master Martinez for his discovery.
The Whereabouts of this piece are clouded today but is known to be in a volt of a bank in New York City. The discussion of this paintings provenance and authenticity in Bogotá where so big the quotation: UN LIO DE LA MADONNA” is used to describe a complicated dilemma.