Teodorico Quiros Biography

Teodorico Quiros

Costa Rica



Costa Rican painter, printmaker, architect, and engineer Teodorico Quiros was born in San Jose, Costa Rica on August 28, 1897. He began his formal education at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes as a child, followed by the Colegio Seminario secondary school. Following graduation he enrolled at the Liceo de Costa Rica where he received his baccalaureate; from there he was able to travel to the U.S. to study architectural engineering, design, and painting at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge (1916 - 1919).  

After returning to Costa Rica in 1920 he was a part of a new wave of artists intent on uplifting their country's place in the world of modern art and design. This led to various commissions as well as teaching positions, which took him to various rural towns. This also allowed him to study the countryside and architecture that he loved most, and recurring themes of Central Plateau scenes dominated his work at this time. He painted with a strong emphasis on colour in the academic, mannerist (costumbrista) style introduced by the Spaniard Tomás Povedano in the early 20th century. This style was typical of the work of members of the exhibiting society, the Círculo de Amigos del Arte, which Quirós founded with Max Jiménez in 1928. Quirós was involved in organizing the group's exhibitions between 1928 and 1937, which stimulated artistic activity at a national level. He also collaborated with Manuel de la Cruz González on a mural for the group's meeting-place, Las Arcadas, in San José, and created a mural for the Colegio Superior Senoritas in 1932.

He became dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts of the Univeristy of Costa Rica from 1940 to 1944, and in 1945 he was a cultural attache in Mexico. In the early 1950s he traveles to the U.S. and Europe to exhibit and paint. His paintings of the 1930s and 1940s were clearly structured, both compositionally and in the impasto and synthetic application of color. By the late 1950s his style changed as the influence of Indigenous motifs and colors entered his oeuvre, and he began to take on an Expressionist style that lent itself to this new inspiration. 

In addition to painting, Quiros designed several architectural works, including the churches of San Isidro de Coronado, San Rafael de Escazu, and Curridabat, and the Chapel of Souls. The library of the School of Architecture at the University of Costa Rica is named in his honor. 

Quiros died in 1977 in San Jose, Costa Rica.