A Providência guia Cabral

Eliseu Visconti1900

Pinacoteca de São Paulo

Pinacoteca de São Paulo

This canvas was first exhibited in Rio de Janeiro in 1901, in an exhibition of paintings and pieces of applied and decorative arts that Visconti held at the National School of Fine Arts. It is an allegory that refers to the discovery of Brazil by Navigator Pedro Álvares Cabral. The screen shows the Portuguese at the helm, guided by the figure of a blind woman with long orange hair - personification of Divine Providence - that positions her left index finger on the head of the boat and in her right hand sports a torch that illuminates the path of the ship which crosses the Atlantic. Besides Cabral, Visconti portrayed three other male figures. The first one, positioned in a plane inferior to the others and quite covert, represents one of the navigators that accompanied the navy of Cabral - like Bartolomeu Dias or Nicolau Coelho. Next to this figure is the scribe Pero Vaz de Caminha, author of the Letter to the King Dom Manuel, recognizable by the pen that he brings in his right hand. With his hands turned to the sky, is Priest Henrique de Coimbra, the celebrant of the first Mass in Brazil.

Performed during her Parisian period as a pensioner of the Brazilian Republic, this is a work from the beginning of Visconti's artistic trajectory and is characterized by the influence of artistic movements such as pre-Raphaelites, symbolism and the Italian Renaissance. His figures, immersed in a melancholy and decadent mist, are built from a very rigorous design and a color of strong Impressionist influence, in violet, purple, blue and orange tones. The figure of Providence and the sea, as well as other parts of the painting, were executed by means of the superposition of small brushstrokes of different shades. This effect created a stained glass of color that makes the surface of the screen pulsate. It is interesting to consider the originality of the composition, justified in the affirmation of the critic Gonzaga Duque: "it was the indefinite esthetic tendencies of an agitated, anxious and indeterminate time in his aspirations, which presided over the creation of the motif and its execution."

Show lessRead more


  • Title: A Providência guia Cabral
  • Creator: Eliseu Visconti
  • Date Created: 1900
  • Physical Dimensions: 180 x 108 cm
  • Type: Oil on canvas
  • Rights: Acervo da Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, Brasil. Transferência do Museu Paulista, 1948
  • Year and death place name: Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
  • Year and birth place name: 1866 - Giffoni Valle Piana, Italy