Skip to content

Category: Military

071. luis maría campos ◊

Luis María Campos, Recoleta Cemetery

Lots of important people built their mausoleums along the cemetery’s outer walls… or at least lots of people with delusions of grandeur. Prior to the days of high-rise apartments, these were some of the best spots. And given the open views, it’s understandable that many families got carried away with size & decoration.

The Campos family dedicated themselves to military service & Luis María founded the War College (Escuela Superior de Guerra) in 1900. But in spite of Luis María’s historical merit, the mausoleum is one of the finest in the cemetery. Big & bold with lots of symbolism, Jules Félix Coutan, the head sculptor of the Paris School of Fine Arts at the beginning of the 20th century, created this work of art. Coutan had already designed & decorated several important buildings in Paris… so in a sense, Campos brought a piece of that city to Buenos Aires. Coutan’s signature is visible on the lower left:

Luis María Campos, Recoleta Cemetery

Luis María Campos stands with his sword to his heart while an angel beckons him to join her above. One thing that makes this sculpture unique is that Campos is supposedly so great, he towers over Argentina. The figure of a woman sitting at his feet supporting a shield is meant to represent the nation. Country should be more important, but the upper class usually has a very different view of what’s appropriate:

Luis María Campos, Recoleta Cemetery

Luis María Campos, Recoleta Cemetery

Luis María Campos, Recoleta Cemetery

Luis María Campos, Recoleta Cemetery

The Escuela Superior de Guerra can be found in Buenos Aires at the 400 block of the avenue which bears his name… with another statue of himself:

Luis María Campos, Escuela Superior de Guerra, Buenos Aires

Luis María Campos, Escuela Superior de Guerra, Buenos Aires

Update (10 Apr 2013): Incredible Art Nouveau image found in Campos’ obituary in society magazine Caras y Caretas (Año X, 19 Oct 1907, No. 472, page 52):

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Luis María Campos, Caras y Caretas

Leave a Comment

047. argentine flags

Only those who have served Argentina in its top positions reserve the right to be buried with the nation’s flag. Most often used for Presidents, the flag can also cover the casket of high-ranking military officers:

General de División, Recoleta Cemetery

Panteón UCR, Recoleta Cemetery

Leave a Comment

038. teniente general eduardo lonardi

Eduardo Lonardi, Recoleta Cemetery

Eduardo Lonardi briefly served as de facto President of Argentina after leading a military coup which forced Perón to flee the country. Dubbed the Liberating Revolution, the military’s reaction to Peronism would influence politics well into the 21st century.

The year was 1955, & Perón had been in power for almost a decade. His policies & political style had generated controversy among Argentines for several years, but those differences were heightened after the death of Eva Perón in 1952. Lacking the charisma of Eva & eventually seeing the results of bad economic decisions, Peronism lost its early strength & the military attempted a coup in June 1955. The daytime bombing of Plaza de Mayo & the Casa Rosada resulted in 364 deaths & over 800 casualties… but Perón was not one of them. He managed to escape unharmed.

A few months later in Sept 1955, Lonardi successfully attempted another coup in the city of Córdoba which spread through the rest of the nation. Perón resigned from the presidency & Paraguay granted him safe passage to Asunción. Lonardi was proclaimed President, but his term was to be short… only 50 days. Realizing the seriousness of ousting a populist leader like Perón, Lonardi thought a lenient attitude to Perón supporters was wise. This conciliatory stance was the origin of his most famous quote, “Neither victors nor vanquished.” In other words, the military should not be seen as victorious over the Peronists, nor should the Peronists consider themselves vanquished.

Eduardo Lonardi, Recoleta Cemetery

Unfortunately Lonardi’s Vice-President didn’t agree. Wanting to try over 300 Peronistas for treason, Lonardi was forced by fellow members of the armed forces to step down. Pedro Aramburu took Lonardi’s place & remained de facto President of Argentina until elections were held in 1958. Lonardi died 4 months after leaving office, the result of cancer which many say encouraged him to lead the uprising against Perón. If he had failed, he only had a few months to live anyway.

An Art Deco sculpture from 1928 signed by local artist Luis Carlos Rovatti draws a lot of attention. Depicting a fallen soldier with a sword in his left hand, a cloaked woman helps support him as well as his eternal flame. Provocative enough to get carried away with lots of photos.

Eduardo Lonardi, Recoleta Cemetery

Eduardo Lonardi, Recoleta Cemetery

Eduardo Lonardi, Recoleta Cemetery

Numerous plaques pay tribute to Lonardi’s role in the Revolución Libertadora.

Eduardo Lonardi, Recoleta Cemetery

Eduardo Lonardi, Recoleta Cemetery

Update (30 Nov 2015): Thanks to newly available images on the CeDInCI website (Centro de Documentación e Investigación de la Cultura de Izquierdas), many images of Lonardi’s funeral and a 1964 tribute to the former de facto President are now available online. I’ve uploaded three here… follow the link above for more:

Eduardo Lonardi, funeral, CeDInCI

Eduardo Lonardi, homenaje, tribute, CeDInCI

Eduardo Lonardi, homenaje, tribute, CeDInCI

2 Comments

029. cause of death

Lots of information can be found out about the occupants of a particular tomb, even with only basic Spanish… just stop & study the plaques. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Luis María de la Cárcova, Recoleta Cemetery

Upper text reads: “To First Lieutenant Luis María de la Cárcova, RIP. He passed away tragically on 03 May 1948.” As is customary in Recoleta Cemetery, this plaque was given on the first anniversary of his death by those who miss him… in this case, fellow military personnel.

1 Comment

026. pedro josé díaz

Rarely found but interesting to seek out are drawings etched in the stone or concrete of the vault. This particular spot has no family name or artist’s signature, but the vault has been attributed to Pedro José Díaz in a few sources:

Pedro José Díaz, Recoleta Cemetery

Pedro José Díaz, Recoleta Cemetery

During my initial visits to Recoleta Cemetery several years ago, I remember a bust of someone in military uniform decorating the vault as well. Unfortunately it has been removed, & I never took a photograph. The quality of the etching is generally very good, but the tiny sword detracts from the strength of the overall image.

Leave a Comment