Today associated with Carnaval, the pre-Lenten street festival, samba originated in the communities of enslaved Afro Brazilians in the late 19th century and combines music, poetry, and choreography. Dos Prazeres, a pioneering composer of samba music, turned to painting in the 1930s and largely based his lively, rhythmic works on this experience. Here he likely depicts the Samba de Roda, performed after a ceremony in the Candomblé religion; the man in black and white, for example, plays an atabaque, a hand drum used in the services.


  • Title: Roda de Samba (Samba Circle)
  • Creator: Heitor dos Prazeres
  • Date Created: 1957
  • Physical Dimensions: 32 7/8 x 51 3/16 in.
  • Provenance: 1998, Bolsa de Arte do Rio de Janeiro; 1998, sold by Bolsa de Arte to John Axelrod, Boston; 2011, sold by Axelrod to the MFA.
  • Subject Keywords: African American Artist
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: The John Axelrod Collection—Frank B. Bemis Fund and Charles H. Bayley Fund. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. All Rights Reserved.
  • External Link: MFA Website Entry
  • Medium: Oil on particle board

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