SAN SALVADOR – Famed painter and winner of El Salvador’s 2013 National Culture Prize, Fernando Llort, has passed away, the Culture Ministry announced Saturday. He was 69.
“Culture Minister Silvia Elena Regalado, general directors and all other officials of the Culture Ministry mourn the passing of Fernando Llort, National Culture Prize winner of 2013, artist and cultural adviser,” the ministry said on its social network accounts.
Llort was born on April 7, 1949, in San Salvador and was the third of six siblings from the marriage of Baltasar Llort and Victoria Choussy.
After high school he studied art in France and the United States, as well as theology in Belgium during the 1960s.
Salvadoran President Salvador Sanchez Ceren lamented Saturday his death and observed that his works “capture the cultural identity” of the country.
“We offer our most heartfelt condolences to the family of the illustrious artist Fernando Llort. His charisma, masterful works and affection for our people capture the cultural identity and the development in peace and harmony of our nation,” the president posted on social media.
Llort was the creator of some splendid mosaics that adorned the frontispiece of the San Salvador Metropolitan Cathedral, a monumental work of art in honor of the Peace Accords signed on January 16, 1992, which put an end to the country’s 1980-1992 civil war.
The destruction of those mosaics by the Salvadoran church was described by the artist as a “slap in the face” and, though he accepted the apologies of the clergy, he said he never did understand their arguments.
“I was surprised and immensely sad because they never gave me the chance to take down the most important work of my life with dignity,” and “I particularly feel the destruction of my mural was a terrible slap in the face...to the country’s artists,” Llort told a press conference.
One of the most recent honors Llort received was from the Japanese ambassador to El Salvador, Kazuyoshi Higuchi, last April for “deepening the mutual understanding and friendship” between the two countries.