Fifty years ago we had a teacher in the Faculty of Architecture that it was teaching to draw. His education nothing had to see with tricks or formulae but with foundations, with what it precedes the act itself of drawing, it might be said. He was saying to us for example that it was important to observe in general, which was considering a special virtue; and to observe the object that wanted to show with the major attention, to understand it. To look in him for proportions and directions. Paces. Sew all the difficult ones to define, you stroll around. We were drawing with charcoal and were using easels. It was required to place us with the distance adapted opposite to the easel, measured up to the arm stretched to achieve extent in the gesture, in the outline. It was speaking of avoiding the detail to us, of not leaving ourselves to go for him without before having outlined the totality. It was required us very much, was harassing us almost and was hard with those that they were thinking about knowing, because he was saying that it was necessary to resign the learned to move with freedom. It was pointing always that we were looking for our own aptitude to express. And it was not searching of his teacher’s role reason to conceal his way of living, of seeing the things, of placing opposite to the life.
It was calling Charles Ventrillon-Horber and was French, born in Paris in 1899. It was mentioning very much to this great figure of the academic French painting that was Jean Paul Laurens (1838-1921), teacher of our Arturo Michelena, Cristóbal Rojas and maybe of him, very young when. It had done very much in his European time but here his topic was the education. His formation was removing it from the modes of then and perhaps it was paralyzing it as artist. Decked with a white dressing-gown, he was a permanent inhabitant of the workshop of drawing, abundance of reproductions of sculptures of the Hellenic world. He was placing them in the center of the Workshop and sometimes it was assigning the positions to us making us draw foreshortened increasing the difficulty. The discóbolo in rest was his preferred by the subtle of his pace. Once I managed to outline it, he praised me and here the drawing is opposite to me, every day, to remember a small achievement.
Requirements and Educations.
As one of the exercises of beginning of course, difficult up to for the most skilful, it was in the habit of placing two stools of drawing interlaced, in order that we were studying the directions. And it was recommending to us to draw clouds. Or rocks, because his multiple edges, seams, you fail, reflections, were stimulating the precision of the outline. Form gave to a constellation of requirements and educations that it was helping to distinguish between the alive drawing own, that he sends to the complexity of the object, and simple skilful, so common and trivial reproduction. Already it was of being grateful.
It loved and studying the nature. And to Venezuela, his people, his landscapes. When “The Devils of Yare” were more authentic and to be going to observe them was needing a trip of several hours, in 1954, it organized a students’ visit of which a documentary stayed in black and white imperfectly but interesting that once projected us. Because he was practising the cinema. It had a Paillard-Bolex of 16 mm.
He was frequenting the sea, which he was enjoying in the house constructed by him in Chichiriviche of the Coast, to where he was travelling in jeep the weekends. There, in the corridor of this destroyed house twenty years ago for one of this fade of our littoral, he installed a species of chair of going fishing because he was feeling special predilection for capturing sharks. And as the house it was opposite to the sea and to not more than hundred meters of the shore, only it had to ask someone of the local fishermen, his friends, to take fishhook and bait to him out to sea and the old man (this way we were saying to him, but he was a young woman) it could only dependent on the alarm of the cane, to take charge of the fight. It was his favorite hobby.
Ventrillon was speaking to us about everything in the moments of rest. Often they were bringing him over (seductoras, clear), the companions of course; and delighted he. And it was leaving space for meetings conversations that were like small seminars on the life, the things and his obsession, the art. Together with Edoardo Crema, Italian teacher who was speaking to us about the Renaissance, he was mentioning Vasari and it made us buy the History of Pijoan’s Art, they opened us for this world. Cream was more conventional but not less ready to indicate the important thing.
Ventrillon nos hablaba de todo en los momentos de descanso. Con frecuencia se le acercaban (seductoras, claro), las compañeras de curso; y él encantado. Y dejaba espacio para sesiones de conversación que eran como pequeños seminarios sobre la vida, las cosas y su obsesión, el arte. Junto a Edoardo Crema, profesor italiano que nos hablaba del Renacimiento, citaba a Vasari y nos hizo comprar la Historia del Arte de Pijoan, nos abrieron a ese mundo. Crema era más convencional pero no menos dispuesto a señalar lo importante.
And the being foreign to conventions was doing that Ventrillon was penetrating into mundane topics. Once he said to me,
it wants to know since she will be the woman in that he is interested?
Observe his mother. I thought that it had opened way to a certain misogyny, but now I understand it better, the youth can be a disguise.
Many we have seen it with immense gratitude. Today I repeat it, and do not say it for being nice with the recollection, but because in teen moments when one doubts his capacities or of having chosen the wrong way, the presence of those who orientate facing rigor your limitations without stopping indicating your virtues, they have an exceptional importance.
Charles Ventrillon is one more test of the importance of the persons in the education, is my topic of these days. Over methods, programs or pedagogic intentions. In certain way his presence in the first two years of the career, it was summarizing the humanistic dimension of the architect’s trade. And since he stopped being a teacher in our classrooms, unjustly separated from his chair for the explosion of common ideological places (populist, clear) to Perez Jiménez’s fall, his absence could not have been replaced or compensated. But the Faculty of Sciences received it since then where it dictated the chair of Drawing for Biologists and a librito published with this name, which continues to the sale. He died in his house of The Shepherdess in 1977. There I visited it once, with desires to say to him that he had been my Teacher. Do not be if I achieved it. Today I remember it with words that seem to me to be small. And I know that I am the spokesperson of many.
Óscar Tenreiro Degwitz, Architect.
Venezuela, september 2011,
Entre lo Cierto y lo Verdadero
Es un arquitecto venezolano, nacido en 1939, Premio Nacional de Arquitectura de su país en 2002-2003, profesor de Diseño Arquitectónico por más de treinta años en la Universidad Central de Venezuela, quien paralelamente con su ejercicio ha mantenido ya por años presencia en la prensa de su país en un esfuerzo de comunicación hacia la gente en general de los puntos de vista del arquitecto acerca de los más diversos temas, entre los cuales figuran los agudos problemas políticos de una sociedad como la venezolana. Tenreiro practica así lo que el llama el “pensamiento desde y hacia la arquitectura”, insistiendo en que lo hace como arquitecto en ejercicio, para escapar de los estereotipos y cautelas propios de la “crítica arquitectónica”. Respecto a la cual no oculta su desconfianza, que explica recurriendo al aforismo de Nietzsche sobre el crítico de arte “que ve el arte desde cerca sin llegar a tocarlo nunca”.