The mysteries of Cándido López, the painter who lost his skillful hand in the Paraguayan War... but he continued painting
In “The Lover of the Left Hand,” a descendant of his first wife tells the secrets of one of the most important artists in Argentina, the first to leave a record of the War of the Triple Alliance.
Cándido López is one of the most famous Argentine painters. His paintings, easily recognizable thanks to the characteristic format he adopted - in which the length exceeded three times the width - are famous for being the first to portray the War of the Triple Alliance, also known as the Paraguayan War.
When this war broke out, López was about to take a trip to Europe in order to finish his education in painting. But his honor forced him to enlist in the army as a lieutenant in the San Nicolás Infantry battalion. Once at the front, the artist took advantage of every free moment to paint what he saw and record it in paintings that he sent to Buenos Aires for sale.
But everything changed during the Battle of Curupayty, in September 1866, when a grenade severed his right hand, with which he painted. He immediately had to retire as a war invalid and, after months of convalescence in Corrientes, he returned to San Nicolás to meet his wife.
But this was not Emilia Magallanes, the one who appears in history books as his only spouse. Before his second marriage, the painter had married Adriana Wilson, with whom he had two daughters. She was the one who helped him recover and learn to paint with his left hand. But, plunged into misery, López leaves her to marry Magellan, who is in her better position.
This story, as well as all of his mysteries, details and intimacies, is told by the Argentine writer Enrique Parma, a descendant of Adriana Wilson, in his new book, The Lover of the Left Hand. Edited by Vestales, this novel is told like a puzzle that seeks to piece together the story of one of the most important painters in Argentina.
But, at the same time, it tries to answer the question of how to unite the pieces of a man who feels incomplete and how a love amputated by distance and war can survive.