Ernesto De Fiori’s art training started in Rome and Munich, where he studied drawing at the Königliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in 1903. From 1911 to 1914, he lived in Paris, where he created his first artworks. He enlisted in the German army in 1916 and, after serving as a soldier in World War I (1914-18) and acting as a correspondent for an Italian newspaper in Germany, he moved to Zurich in 1918. In 1936, De Fiori emigrated to Brazil, fleeing the rise of Nazi fascism. He resumed his journalistic work, writing for newspapers based in Brazil and other countries. His first paintings created in Brazil depicted local landscapes, scenes of forests, farms, rivers and scorched land. In the 1940s, he took an interest in urban scenes. Meanwhile, in his sculptures, he focused on roughly modeled human figures. The Brazilian (1938) is a model for the sculpture that was to be placed at the Ministry of Education and Public Health Building in Rio de Janeiro, the initial milestone of modernist architecture in Brazil. However, misunderstandings about the features of what was supposed to be the emblematic Brazilian man resulted in the rejection of De Fiori’s work.