Futebol by Glauco RodriguesMuseu Nacional de Belas Artes
Football is the most popular sport on the planet and we can say that Brazil plays a decisive role in this passion. Our players, most of them born in simple and humble fields, have given rhythm, improvisation, colours and poetry to the way football is played around the world.
Brazilians' passion for football has yielded catharsis of joys and sufferings in epic glories and disappointments. It has built personal and collective memories that are part of our people's history.
Artistic sensibility has always captured this phenomenon and some works in the National Museum of Fine Arts (MNBA) express this passion.
The first kicks and strokes
English football becomes Brazilian futebol.
Arriving in Brazil at the end of the 19th century from England, football found a country in transformation.
A vetomania (1920) by Klixto, Calixto Cordeiro, ditoMuseu Nacional de Belas Artes
In 1920, football was gaining popularity and already served as inspiration for chronicles and cartoons of Brazilian daily life.
Since then, our cartoonists have made countless connections between football and politics.
The country that transformed football was the same country that held the Week of Modern Art in 1922. These were important times in Brazil's history.
Futebol (1948) by José Borges da CostaMuseu Nacional de Belas Artes
In the main Brazilian cities, football won the hearts of the young elite and gradually became a craze among workers and young people from the suburbs. Along the way, it generated controversy and highlighted traits of our society.
Among them, racial and social discrimination that only in the mid-1920s began to be faced more strongly in football clubs, when black people and workers were able to gain protagonism and recognition.
In 1923, Vasco da Gama, a team formed mostly by black players and workers, became champion of football in the city of Rio de Janeiro. This conquest generated strong opposition from the managers of the other clubs, which were formed by youngsters from Rio's elite. The following year, the organizing entity of the competition demanded the withdrawal of these athletes before accepting the registration of Vasco da Gama, which was rejected by the club.
Vasco's decision was presented by letter to the Metropolitan Athletics Sports Association (AMEA), is considered a milestone in the fight against prejudice and racism in sport and became known as the "Historic Response".
In Brazil, the first idols emerge
In the 1930s, professionalism took its first steps in Brazilian football and, at the same time, the Estado Novo (New State) used the sport as a form of propaganda.
Leônidas da Silva, the Black Diamond.
One of the first idols of Brazilian football, he played for Vasco, Flamengo and São Paulo.
"The artistic Leonidas made cubist moves that shattered opposing defences, and with his dribbling he drew labyrinths where some defenders must be lost to this day. The inventor Leonidas created the bicycle, a move that flouts the law of gravity and proves the theory of relativity ... he, like God, created something new, invented what did not exist. He also used clay, only the clay from football fields and, if he did not bring light to darkness, there is no denying that he was an enlightened player.In short, Leonidas was a black and pagan god who walked these lands and worked his miracles".
Text by José Roberto Torero in Preface of the book "O Diamante Eterno de André Ribeiro"
The Football World Cup was played for the first time in 1930, in Uruguay, and the Brazilian national team was there.
Brazil was the only country to be represented at all subsequent editions, having been champions five times - 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002.
Jogador by POTI, Napoleão Potiguara Lazzarotto, ditoMuseu Nacional de Belas Artes
The world stops and mourns WWII.
World War II prevented the 1942 and 1946 World Cups from being held.
Besides the war, Brazilians mourn the "Maracanazo" in 1950.
In 1950, Brazil hosted the World Cup, but the defeat against Uruguay in the final made an entire country cry.
However, football definitely became part of the Brazilian soul.
From the end of the 1950s, Brazil would enchant the world with the football geniuses of Pelé, Garrincha, Didi, Bellini, Mauro, Nilton Santos, Amarildo, Djalma Santos, Zito, Vavá and Zagalo.
These were times of bossa nova, modern architecture, the construction of Brasilia and the International Art Biennials of São Paulo. A country that made art both on and off the field.
Futebol by Ludwig HesshainnerMuseu Nacional de Belas Artes
The second championship in 1962 made Brazilian football a phenomenon.
Futebol (1948) by José Borges da CostaMuseu Nacional de Belas Artes
In 1963, a Fla x Flu brought together no Maracanã almost 200,000 people. Off the field, the country plunged into a dictatorship that lasted until 1985.
The work was inspired by an anthological defense made by the Flamenguista goalkeeper Marcial in the 1963 Flamengo x Fluminense match.
Censura III (1970) by Farnese de AndradeMuseu Nacional de Belas Artes
The dictatorship plays against, but the Brazilian team TRIumphs.
In 1970, Brazil won the World Cup three times, but the joy with Pelé, Tostão, Jairzinho, Carlos Alberto, Gérson and Rivelino, coexists with the pain of those who suffered in the cellars of the dictatorship. Brazilian art of that time reflects these contradictions of emotions.
Fla x Flu (Flamengo x Fluminense) in the colours of Djanira
A work that lives up to the beauty of the classic match between the two clubs.
"Fla-Flu started 40 minutes before nothing".
The words of writer, journalist, novelist, playwright and playwright Nelson Rodrigues express the importance of one of the greatest classics in Brazilian football.
Futebol: Fla - Flu (1975) by DjaniraMuseu Nacional de Belas Artes
The colours of the two teams guarantee an impressive visual spectacle that Djanira registered in her painting "Futebol: Fla - Flu", which belongs to the MNBA collection,
as well as several studies made by the artist to make this work.
Just as the players train for the game, the artist prepares the work.
Despite not having won a title since 1970, Brazilian football made art on the pitch in 82 and 86 and artists make art inspired by the game of the ball in all its forms. Brazil is once again breathing an air of freedom. In the 1980s, stars like Zico, Reinaldo, Sócrates, Falcão and Roberto Dinamite enchanted the crowds.
In the arts, the 80s Generation brought new paths to Brazilian painting.
Futebol by Irene MedeirosMuseu Nacional de Belas Artes
Brazilian football has in its DNA the grace, creativity and simplicity of our people. The MNBA's collection has works of artists who knew how to express this universe.
O goleiro (1999) by Newton CavalcantiMuseu Nacional de Belas Artes
In 2022, after his death, Pelé became a new entry in the Portuguese language.
Caricatura de Edson Arantes do Nascimento, dito (Pelé) (1994) by Cássio LoredanoMuseu Nacional de Belas Artes
As defined in the Michaelis dictionary: pe.lé adj m+f sm+f
Who or one who is out of the ordinary, who or one who by virtue of their quality, value or superiority cannot be equated with anything or anyone, like Pelé, nickname of Edson Arantes do Nascimento (1940-2022),
considered the greatest athlete of all time; exceptional, incomparable, unique. He is the Pelé of basketball ... she is the Pelé of Brazilian dramaturgy...
And it is with this work that we close this exhibition in honor of
Brazilian football - THE PELÉ OF WORLD FOOTBALL.
The passion for Brazilian football in drawings, paintings and sculptures in the collection of the National Museum of Fine Arts
Márcio Marques dos Santos
Idealizada especialmente para o Google Arts & Culture, 2023.
COMO O FUTEBOL MOLDOU A IDENTIDADE CULTURAL DO BRASILEIRO. Observatório da discriminação racial no futebol, 2023. Artigo. Disponível em: <https://observatorioracialfutebol.com.br/textos/como-o-futebol-moldou-a-identidade-cultural-do-brasileiro/>.
MICHAELIS. pe.lé. Disponível em: <https://michaelis.uol.com.br/palavra/wezv8/Pel%C3%A9/>.
NAPOLEÃO. Antônio Carlos. O Brasil de Todas as Copas. Brasília, Ministério do Esporte, 2012.
RIBEIRO, André. O Diamante Eterno - Biografia de Leônidas da Silva. Rio de Janeiro, Gryphus, 1999.
RODRIGUES FILHO, Mario. O negro no futebol brasileiro, Rio de Janeiro, Mauad, 2003.