Argentina is a multicultural country with significant European influences. Its cities are largely characterised by the predominance of people of European origin and the deliberate emulation of European styles in fashion, architecture and design. Modern Argentine culture has been strongly influenced by immigrants from Italy, Spain and other European countries such as France, Britain and Northern Ireland, Germany, etc. Argentina is largely characterised by the predominance of people of European origin and the deliberate imitation of European styles in architecture. Museums, cinemas and galleries abound in all major urban centres, as do traditional establishments such as literary bars or bars with live music of various genres, although Amerindian and African influences are less present, especially in the fields of music and art. The other major influence is that of the gauchos and their traditional rural lifestyle of self-sufficiency. Finally, Amerindian traditions are integrated into the general cultural milieu.
Tango, a Rioplatense musical style with European and African influences, is one of Argentina’s international cultural symbols. The golden age of tango (1930s to mid-1950s) mirrors that of jazz and swing in the United States, with great orchestras such as those of Osvaldo Pugliese, Aníbal Troilo, Francisco Canaro, Julio de Caro and Juan d’Arienzo. After 1955, the virtuoso Astor Piazzolla popularised Nuevo Tango, a more subtle and intellectual orientation of the genre. Today, tango enjoys worldwide popularity with groups such as Gotan Project, Bajofondo and Tanghetto.
Argentina has developed a strong classical music and dance scene that has produced such renowned artists as composer Alberto Ginastera, violinist Alberto Lysy, pianists Martha Argerich and Eduardo Delgado; Daniel Barenboim, pianist and director of the symphony orchestra; José Cura and Marcelo Álvarez, tenors; and ballet dancers Jorge Donn, José Neglia, Norma Fontenla, Maximiliano Guerra, Paloma Herrera, Marianela Núñez, Iñaki Urlezaga and Julio Bocca.
A national Argentine folk style emerged in the 1930s from dozens of regional musical genres and influenced all Latin American music. Some of its performers, such as Atahualpa Yupanqui and Mercedes Sosa, have achieved worldwide fame.
The romantic ballad genre included internationally renowned singers such as Sandro de América.
Argentine rock emerged as a distinct musical style in the mid-1960s, when Buenos Aires and Rosario became cradles for aspiring musicians. Founding groups such as Los Gatos, Sui Generis, Almendra and Manal were followed by Seru Giran, Los Abuelos de la Nada, Soda Stereo and Patricio Rey y sus Redonditos de Ricota, with leading artists such as Gustavo Cerati, Litto Nebbia, Andrés Calamaro, Luis Alberto Spinetta, Charly García, Fito Páez and León Gieco.
Tenor saxophonist Leandro “Gato” Barbieri and composer and conductor Lalo Schifrin are among the best-known Argentine jazz musicians on the international scene.
Buenos Aires is one of the world’s great theatrical capitals, with a world-class stage centred on Corrientes Avenue, “the street that never sleeps”, sometimes called the intellectual Broadway of Buenos Aires. The Teatro Colón is a world-class venue for opera and classical performances; its acoustics are considered one of the five best in the world. Other important theatres include Teatro General San Martín, Cervantes, both in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentino in La Plata, El Círculo in Rosario, Independencia in Mendoza and Libertador in Córdoba. Griselda Gambaro, Copi, Roberto Cossa, Marco Denevi, Carlos Gorostiza and Alberto Vaccarezza are some of the best known Argentine playwrights.
The origins of Argentine theatre date back to the foundation of the first theatre in the colony, La Ranchería, by Viceroy Juan José de Vértiz y Salcedo in 1783. It was on this stage that a tragedy entitled Siripo was premiered in 1786. Siripo is now a lost work (only the second act survives) and can be considered the first Argentine play, as it was written by the Buenos Aires poet Manuel José de Lavardén, premiered in Buenos Aires, and its plot is inspired by a historical episode from the early days of colonisation of the Río de la Plata basin: the destruction of the colony of Sancti Spiritu by the natives in 1529. The theatre of La Ranchería functioned until it was destroyed by fire in 1792. The second theatre stage in Buenos Aires was the Teatro Coliseo, opened in 1804 during the reign of Viceroy Rafael de Sobremonte. It was the longest continuously operating stage in the country. The musical creator of the Argentine national anthem, Blas Parera, became famous as a theatre composer in the early 19th century. The genre suffered under the regime of Juan Manuel de Rosas, but it flourished along with the economy later in the century. The national government gave Argentine theatre its first boost with the founding of the Colón Theatre in 1857, which hosted theatrical performances as well as classical and opera shows. The success of Antonio Petalardo’s play at the opening of the Teatro Opera in 1871 inspired others to fund the burgeoning arts in Argentina
The Argentine film industry is historically one of the three most developed in Latin American cinema, along with those produced in Mexico and Brazil. Founded in 1896, it was already the leading film producer in Latin America in the early 1930s, a position it maintained until the early 1950s. The world’s first animated feature films were produced and broadcast in Argentina in 1917 and 1918 by the cartoonist Quirino Cristiani.
Argentine films have gained worldwide recognition: the country has won two Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film, with The Official Story (1985) and The Secret in Their Eyes (2009), which received seven nominations:
- The armistice (La Tregua) in 1974
- Camila (Camila) in 1984
- The Official History (La Historia Oficial) in 1985
- Tango (Tango) in 1998
- The Bride’s Son (El hijo de la novia) in 2001
- The Secret of His Eyes (El Secreto de sus Ojos) in 2009
- Wild Tales (Relatos Salvajes) in 2015
In addition, Argentine composers Luis Enrique Bacalov and Gustavo Santaolalla won the Oscar for Best Film Score in 2006 and 2007, respectively, and Armando Bo and Nicolás Giacobone won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 2015. The Franco-Argentine actress Berenice Bejo was also nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2011 and won the César for Best Actress and the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival for her role in the film The Past.
Argentina has also won sixteen Goya Awards for Best Foreign Film in the Spanish Language with A King and His Film (1986), A Place in the World (1992), Gatica, el mono (1993), Autumn Sun (1996), Ashes from Heaven (1997), The Lighthouse (1998), The Burnt Money (2000), Escape (2001), Intimate Stories (2003), Blessed by Fire (2005), The Hands (2006), XXY (2007), The Secret in Their Eyes (2009), Chinese Take-Away (2011), Wild Tales (2014) and The Clan (2015), which is by far the most awarded film in Latin America with twenty-three nominations.
Many other Argentine films have been rejected by international critics: Camila (1984), Man Facing Southeast (1986), A Place in the World (1992), Pizza, Beer, and Cigarettes (1997), Nine Queens (2000), A Red Bear (2002), The Motorcycle Diaries (2004), The Aura (2005), Chinese Take-Away (2011) und Wild Tales (2014) are just a few.
In 2013, approximately 100 feature films were created each year.
Among the best-known Argentine painters are Cándido López and Florencio Molina Campos (naive style); Ernesto de la Cárcova and Eduardo Sívori (realism); Fernando Fader (impressionism); Pío Collivadino, Atilio Malinverno and Cesáreo Bernaldo de Quirós (post-impressionism); Emilio Pettoruti (cubism); Julio Barragán (concretism and cubism); Antonio Berni (neo-figurativism); Roberto Aizenberg and Xul Solar (Surrealism); Gyula Košice (Constructivism); Eduardo Mac Entyre (Generative Art); Luis Seoane, Carlos Torrallardona, Luis Aquino and Alfredo Gramajo Gutiérrez (Modernism); Lucio Fontana (Spatialism); Tomás Maldonado and Guillermo Kuitca (Abstract Art); León Ferrari and Marta Minujín (Conceptual Art); and Gustavo Cabral (Fantastic Art)
In 1946, Gyula Košice and others founded the Madí movement in Argentina, which later spread to Europe and the United States, where it had a great influence. Tomás Maldonado is one of the main theorists of the Ulm model for design education, which still has a great influence on the world.
Other world-renowned Argentine artists include Adolfo Bellocq, whose lithographs have been influential since the 1920s, and Benito Quinquela Martín, the port painter par excellence, inspired by the immigrant neighbourhood of La Boca.
The sculptors Erminio Blotta, Lola Mora and Rogelio Yrurtia, winners of international awards, have created many of the classic and evocative monuments of the Argentine urban landscape.
Colonisation brought Spanish Baroque architecture, whose simpler Rioplatense style is still visible in the reduction of San Ignacio Miní, the Cathedral of Cordoba and the Cabildo of Luján. Italian and French influences intensified in the early 19th century, with strong eclectic overtones that gave a unique character to the local architecture.
Many Argentine architects have enriched the urban landscape of their country and the world: Juan Antonio Buschiazzo helped popularise Beaux-Arts architecture, and Francisco Gianotti combined Art Nouveau and the Italian style, giving a special character to Argentine cities in the early 20th century. Francisco Salamone and Viktor Sulčič left a legacy of Art Deco, and Alejandro Bustillo created a rich body of neoclassical and rationalist architecture. Alberto Prebisch and Amancio Williams were strongly influenced by Le Corbusier, while Clorindo Testa introduced Brutalist architecture locally. The futuristic creations of César Pelli and Patricio Pouchulu have embellished cities around the world: Pelli’s returns to the Art Deco glamour of the 1920s have made him one of the world’s most renowned architects, and the Norwest Center and Petronas Towers are among his most famous works.
Pato is the national sport, an ancient equestrian game that originated in the early 1600s and is the predecessor of horseball. The most popular sport is football. The men’s national team is the only one outside France to have won the most important international treble: World Cup, Confederations Cup and Olympic gold medal. He has also won 14 Copas América, 6 Pan-American gold medals and many other trophies. Alfredo Di Stéfano, Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi are among the best players in the history of football.
The Las Leonas women’s hockey team is one of the most successful in the world, having won four Olympic medals, two world championships, one World League and seven championships. Luciana Aymar is considered the best player in the history of the sport. She is the only person to have received the FIH Player of the Year award eight times.
Basketball is a very popular sport. The men’s national team is the only one in the FIBA Americas zone to have won the crown five times: World Championship, Olympic Gold Medal, Diamond Ball, Americas Championship and Pan American Gold Medal. She has also won 13 South American Championships and numerous other tournaments. 313] Emanuel Ginóbili, Luis Scola, Andrés Nocioni, Fabricio Oberto, Pablo Prigioni, Carlos Delfino and Juan Ignacio Sánchez are some of the country’s most famous players, all of whom play in the NBA. Argentina hosted the World Basketball Championships in 1950 and 1990.
Rugby is another popular sport in Argentina. Since 2014, the men’s national team, known as “Los Pumas”, has participated in the Rugby World Cup every time, its best result to date being a third place finish in 2007. Since 2012, “Los Pumas” have competed against Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in the Rugby Championship, the most important international rugby competition in the southern hemisphere. Since 2009, the senior men’s team known as “Los Jaguares” has competed against senior teams from the United States and Canada, as well as Uruguay, in the Americas Rugby Championship. Los Jaguares have won every year.
Argentina has produced some of the most impressive boxing champions, including Carlos Monzón, the best middleweight in history; Pascual Pérez, one of the most decorated flyweight boxers of all time; Víctor Galíndez, who has held the record for consecutive lightweight title defenses since 2009; and Nicolino Locche, nicknamed “The Untouchable” for his masterful defense; all of whom have been inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Tennis is very popular with people of all ages. Guillermo Vilas is the greatest Latin American player of the Open Era, while Gabriela Sabatini is the most successful Argentine player of all time – reaching third place in the WTA rankings – and both have been inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Argentina is the undisputed king of polo, winning more international championships than any other country and rarely being beaten since the 1930s. The Argentine Polo Championship is the sport’s premier international team trophy. The country is home to many of the world’s best players, including Adolfo Cambiaso, the best in polo history.
Historically, Argentina has a strong presence in motor racing. Juan Manuel Fangiow was a five-time Formula One World Champion with four different teams, winning 102 of his 184 international races, and is widely regarded as the greatest driver of all time. Other notable racing drivers include Oscar Alfredo Gálvez, Juan Gálvez, José Froilán González and Carlos Reutemann.
In addition to many of the pasta, sausage and dessert dishes common to continental Europe, Argentines enjoy a wide variety of indigenous and criollo creations, including empanadas (a small filled pastry), locro (a mixture of corn, beans, meat, bacon, onions and squash), humita and mate.
The country has the highest consumption of red meat in the world, traditionally prepared in asado, the Argentine barbecue. It is prepared with different types of meat, often chorizo, sweetbreads, tripe and black pudding.
The most common desserts are facturas (Viennese pastries), cakes and pancakes with dulce de leche (a kind of milk and caramel jam), alfajores (butter biscuits with chocolate, dulce de leche or fruit paste filling) and tortas fritas (fried cakes).
Argentine wine, one of the best in the world, is an integral part of the local menu. Malbec, Torrontés, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Chardonnay are among the most sought-after varieties.
Some of Argentina’s national symbols are established by law, while others are traditions that have no official designation. The flag of Argentina consists of three horizontal stripes of equal width in light blue, white and light blue, with the May sun in the centre of the central white stripe. The flag was designed by Manuel Belgrano in 1812; it was adopted as the national symbol on 20 July 1816. The coat of arms, representing the union of the provinces, was adopted as a seal for official documents in 1813. The Argentine national anthem was written by Vicente López y Planes with music by Blas Parera and adopted in 1813. The national cockade was first used during the revolution of May 1810 and was made official two years later. The Virgin of Luján is the patron saint of Argentina.
The hornero, which inhabits most of the national territory, was chosen as the national bird in 1928 after a survey of the lower classes. The ceibo is the national floral emblem and the national tree, while the Colorado quebracho is the national forest tree. Rhodochrosite is known as the national gemstone. The national sport is pato, an equestrian game that was popular among the gauchos.
Argentine wine is the national liquor and mate is the national brew. Asado and locro are considered the national dishes.