A painter, illustrator and engraver, Frans Post was born into a family of artists. He came to Brazil in 1637 at age 25 as part of Maurice of Nassau’s entourage in Pernambuco (1630-54). He lived in Recife until 1644, a period in which he produced 18 landscapes, only seven of which are still known to exist.
Of Post’s second phase, the MASP collection owns "Cachoeira de Paulo Afonso" [Paulo Afonso Waterfall] (1649) and, of his third, "Paisagem com tamanduá" [Landscape with Anteater] (circa 1660), "Paisagem em Pernambuco com casa-grande" [Landscape with a Farm House in Pernambuco] (1665), "Paisagem com jiboia" [Landscape with Boa Constrictor] (circa 1660) and "Paisagem pernambucana com rio" [River Scene in Pernambuco] (1668). Post could be considered the originator of Brazilian landscapes, though through European eyes, representing tropical elements such as the country’s fauna and flora.
E. F. Schute
Most likely of Scandinavian origins, Schute was a painter who worked in Brazil during the 19th century. Little is known about his life, and the painting that belongs to the MASP collection is one of his rare works included in public collections. Possibly an amateur painter, Schute’s work demonstrates a noticeable influence from German Romanticism with a strong concern in relation to the sublime in nature, connecting his painting to such German artists as Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840).
João Batista Castagneto
Castagneto came from a peasant family and followed in the footsteps of his sailor father, with whom he settled in Rio de Janeiro in 1874. He studied with Victor Meirelles (1832-1903) and Georges Grimm (1846-1887) at Academia Imperial de Belas Artes, where he enrolled in 1876, breaking the school’s rules on age limit in order to attend. He referred to himself as a mere “boat painter,” painting seascapes, often in a makeshift studio set up on a boat.
The painting "Uma salva em dia de grande gala na baía do Rio de Janeiro" [Gun Salute on a Gala Day at the Rio de Janeiro Bay] (1887) was the centerpiece of a controversy which characterized his turbulent relationship with the Academia. It was one of the artist’s most ambitious undertakings, a fact which nonetheless failed to save him from being barred from the Escola Nacional de Belas Artes for disrespecting the values espoused by the academics.
Victor Meirelles was one of the artists responsible for the consolidation of historical painting during the reign of Dom Pedro II (1841-1889) and taught artists such as Eliseu Visconti (1866-1944) and Almeida Júnior (1850-1899). He was admitted to the Academia Imperial de Belas Artes in 1847 and was awarded a travel grant to Europe in 1853, studying in Rome, Florence and Paris.
On the other hand, with the painting "Moema" (1866), also owned by MASP, Meirelles developed another theme: the scene presents the character Moema from the epic poem Caramuru by Frei Durão (1722-1784), dead on the beach after swimming behind the ship carrying her lover, Diogo Álvares, who was returning to Portugal.
The theme belongs to the traditional of Indianist Romanticism, typical of the time, which sought to validate native themes. Meirelles portrayed Moema in a supposedly “natural” condition, though, in reality, quite idealized, representing her body through defined shadows and forms bordering on the geometric.
As a child, Antonio Parreiras was sent by his family, which did not approve of his artistic bent, to a boarding school named Liceu Popular de Niterói. In 1882, after his father’s death, Parreiras enrolled at the Academia Imperial de Belas Artes in Rio de Janeiro. Two years later, he left the Academia to participate in the open painting course given by Georg Grimm (1846-1887) in Niterói. His first exhibition was held in 1886. He traveled to Europe where he attended the Accademia di Belle Arti in Venice, returning to Brazil to serve as a professor of landscape painting at the Escola Nacional de Belas Artes, a position which he later gave up to found the Escola do Ar Livre.
The artist depicted the denouement of the novel of the same name by José de Alencar (1829-1877) in 1865. Iracema, the indigenous heroine, is depicted in her suffering after being abandoned by her European lover. The figure derives from the paintings of the penitent Mary Magdalene in the desert and does not present indigenous features. The choice of these models indicates the tragic and violent character of the clashing between the colonizer and the colonized during the formation of Brazil.
Self-taught until the age of 19, Almeida Júnior was later admitted to the Academia Imperial de Belas Artes in Rio de Janeiro, where he studied under Victor Meirelles (1832-1903) and Jules Le Cevrel (1810-1872). His early paintings caught the attention of the Brazilian emperor Dom Pedro II, who financed his studies in Paris. He stood out at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he was taught by Alexandre Cabanel (1823-1889). Almeida Júnior produced portraits, landscapes and seascapes.
His best-known paintings depict everyday life in the countryside. The influence of Gustave Courbet (1819-1877) and Millet (1814-1875) contributed to an emphasis on realism in his representation of nature and people. Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot (1796-1875) influenced Almeida Júnior in his use of light, intense colors. Further influence from French artists Édouard Manet (1832-1883) and Claude Monet (1840-1926) can also be found in his work. Critical re-evaluation of Almeida Júnior’s work centers on the mostly rural themes of his paintings, which were executed with fine academic technique. Some of his more outstanding works include "Moça com livro" [Young Woman with Book] (undated), owned by MASP, "Caipira picando fumo" [Caipira cutting tobacco] (1893) and "Amolação interrompida" [Interrupted Whetting] (1894).
Victor Meirelles was a painter during the reign of Dom Pedro II (1840-1889) and taught artists such as Eliseu Visconti (1866-1944) and Almeida Júnior (1850-1899). He was admitted to the Academia Imperial de Belas Artes in 1847 and was awarded a travel grant to Europe in 1853, studying in Rome, Florence and Paris.
Art from Brazil until 1900
26.3 a 6.6.2015
Curatorial: Adriano Pedrosa and Tomás Toledo