Too New for Guidebooks: the Murals of 25 de Agosto

The small town of Villa 25 de Agosto in Uruguay is worth a visit to admire over 60 finely executed murals, which decorate many buildings in town. 25 de Agosto is about an hour north of Montevideo by car.

The small town of Villa 25 de Agosto in Uruguay is worth a visit to admire over 60 finely executed murals, which decorate many buildings in town. 25 de Agosto is about an hour north of Montevideo by car.

Woman at a piano; this is part of an ensemble of murals, all depicting musicians

Woman at a piano; this is part of an ensemble of murals, all depicting musicians

Today we want to introduce an attraction of Uruguay which, in all likelihood, isn’t yet mentioned in your guidebook. When we enquired about the murals of Villa 25 de Agosto at the government tourist information office in Montevideo they didn’t seem to know about them, although you can find a short entry mentioning them on their website .

As a possible tourist destination they only gained attention quite recently. In mid-September 2015 the small town of 25 de Agosto held festivities to celebrate the official inauguration of the “Ruta de los Murales”. The murals are the brainchild of French visual artist Michele Dubaux who lives, with her husband, in 25 de Agosto and runs the studio Leoarti (LEO is also her signature on most of her paintings).

She painted her first mural in the town in 2009. Since then the number has risen to over 60, and more art is being added to the walls every few months. The majority of pieces were executed by her personally, others by artists and students of Leoarti.

Villa 25 de Agosto is a small town in the province of Florida, a good hour north of Montevideo by car. Somehow it looks even more sleepy than other rural towns we have passed through in Uruguay. 25 de Agosto is off Ruta 11. A major train line passes through and stops here, otherwise probably no one would find their way here. Except that now people will come for the astonishing number of finely executed murals on display.

Dark red coloured house with murals depicting traditional gaucho scenes in 25 de Agosto

Dark red coloured house with murals depicting traditional gaucho scenes in 25 de Agosto

Murals near the train station of 25 de Agosto

An old steam train comes across the old steel bridge of 25 de Agosto

An old steam train comes across the old steel bridge of 25 de Agosto

I have posted this in our ‘Street Art’ category, although the style certainly differs from the traditional understanding of street art. You find none of the impromptu coarse lines of spray-can paint, or the socio critical humour, which is often present in contemporary street art. The majority of these murals are finely detailed paintings, almost entirely brushwork, reminiscent of classic oil paintings. As a matter of fact a few are copies of famous works.

The style of 25 de Agosto’s murals ranges from Realism to Expressionist Art. Several are so realistically executed that they convey the famous French Trompe L’oeil style. Often local scenes, people, or stories have inspired their central motifs. Others are interpretations of classic art pieces.

Murals near the central plaza of 25 de Agosto

Apparently the artists usually incorporate the stories and ideas of the owners of each house they decorate. Horses seem to be one recurring favourite of Michele Dubaux. This makes sense because horses still play an important role in rural South America. They are essential for the Gaucho lifestyle and to draw the small carts of poorer peasants.

Murals throughout Villa 25 de Agosto

Our gallery post contains less than half of the murals to be found in Villa 25 de Agosto. To see them all, we encourage you to visit and stroll around this quiet little town!


Further reading & viewing [I found no links in English – all in Spanish]:

Juergen

webmaster, main photographer & driver, second cook and only husband at dare2go.com. Freelance web designer with nearly 20 years of experience at webbeetle.com.au

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18 Responses

  1. Although I love Street Art, I love these murals even more! Their attention to details and artistry are wonderful. I’m so glad you chose to focus on them during your travels in Uruguay.

    • Juergen says:

      Whenever we hear about something like this, free public art, murals, sculptures, or the like, we search them out if they are not too far out of our way.

  2. Wow Yasha, such beautiful artwork which tells a personalised story. How lovely! :-)

    • Juergen says:

      Glad that you like these, Lyndall! But I have to clarify: this is my post. Yasha and I share the writing. Regards Juergen

  3. Beautiful and I enjoyed reading this as my nephew is currently studying in Uruguay. I will tell him to go and see Villa 25 de Agosto.

  4. What dedication to paint so many murals. Did you find that they got more detailed closer to the town plaza? The last collection of photos capturing art near the plaza seems a little more detailed or just different?

    • Juergen says:

      Hi, Annette! I’m not sure I can agree with your observation that the “art near the plaza seems a little more detailed”. I was most intrigued by detail in the paintings of the gauchos and other local characters on the dark red house (with the bright green trim, 3rd photo in the post) – and that house is right across from the railway station. There’s also no order in the murals. The one I called ‘rural scene’, the small red-roofed houses in a landscape of palms and trees, is one of the newest murals.

  5. Dean says:

    I love street art in general but mural towns always catch my attention. Thanks for sharing and showing me another town to add to my list.

  6. All these artwork are really colourful and beautiful.Love to see the place some day!

  7. We had never heard of a village called 25 de Agosto, but now are really intrigued! The artwork is gorgeous, and we love spending afternoons in sleepy little villages. Double win! #TheWeeklyPostcard

  8. This is truly beautiful. I will gladly do the one hour trip to see the murals. Like when towns find ways to reinvent themselves.

  9. Corinne says:

    You are right! I have never heard of this before, but I’m so glad that you told us about them. I would love to go….(adding it to my list)!

  10. Vlad says:

    Wow, they looks stunning, I’ve never seen murals quite like these! Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard :)

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