Filete

 

 

The Fileteado Porteño is a popular decorative art form that emerged in Buenos Aires at the beginning of the 20th century. It was first developed by Italian immigrants for decoration on horse-drawn street carts and later was employed as decoration on trucks and buses. Some contemporary buses, such as Ruta 29, are still decorated with filete.

 

It has some shared characteristics with Art Nouveau: use of curves and swirls, motifs of animals and nature. Most of the elements were taken from ornamental and architectural decorations of the time, but often popular figures or pastimes were also depicted, such as Carlos Gardel (the greatest tango singer in history), Our Lady of Luján (the patron saint of travellers), horses, racing cars, or country landscapes.

 

Filete artwork declined in the 1970s but more recently it has been taken up by artists and artisans, utilised on countless objects, such as everyday items, fashion garments, shop signs, window signboards, musical instruments, graphic arts and advertising. Through its association with Tango culture, it has been re-popularised as a tourist commodity and art form representative of Buenos Aires urban life.

 

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