Among the many restorations carried out this year at the University of Havana—such as the School of Physics, the Administration Building, and the Aula Magna—major work has recently been completed in the University’s Central Library, including the restoration of two magnificent murals by Cuban painter Domingo Ravenet. Cuba Now reports:
In 1945, the outstanding Cuban painter Domingo Ravenet left his professional imprint on the shape of two beautiful murals that increased the value and beauty of the Library of the University of Havana. However, since 1976, the beautiful frescoes named Prometeo robando el fuego and Prometeo encadenado had remained shut away behind a lower wooden ceiling, expected to be the solution to poor illumination at the place.
After 35 years they were intact. A hard restoration process carried out by the Historian´s Office of the City of Havana brought back to life the beautiful paintings that can now be admired by anyone who visits the library. Likewise, the original lamps, placed on the walls, are again generating light and, together with the antique furniture of the place, they rescued the balanced atmosphere that was initially conceived.
Domingo Ravenet, a Cuban painter born in Spain, wanted to portray on those works the situation of young Cuban students during the neo-colonial period, when the University of Havana was the center of constant political and social battles. Prometheus symbolizes the young people chained and knowledge-thirsty, who would then, just like the restless fighter, break their chains, reach for fire, and leave the darkness of ignorance.
Ravenet studied at the San Alejandro Academy, in Havana; at the Louvre, in France; and at El Prado, in Spain. He made incursions into sculpture and engraving, and he integrated the Cuban artistic vanguard during the first half of the 20th century. Some of his works can be found at the National Museum of Fine Arts.
The restoration also favored the building, the only one of Art Deco style within the University campus. Designed in 1937 by architect Joaquín Weiss Sánchez, it is part of a series of buildings raised about that time on the same architectural patterns, such as the America Arias Hospital for Mothers and Children, in the neighborhood of El Vedado, and the Bacardi Building, in the oldest part of the city.
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