The Life of Candido Portinari

By Projeto Portinari

Portinari (1956) by Francesco Florian SteinerProjeto Portinari

Candido Portinari (1903-1962) was a Brazilian painter whose art captured the spirit of the country and its peoples. He is known as Brazil’s most famous modernist painter.

Coffee Farm Worker (1934) by Candido PortinariProjeto Portinari

Portinari grew up on the coffee plantation that his parents worked on. The dark soil and blue skies would be the inspiration for much of his future paintings.

Brazilian Flora and Fauna (1934) by Candido PortinariProjeto Portinari

He paid for his art studies by selling portraits he recreated from photographs. At school he won a trip to Paris where he was inspired by European paintings to portray the colors of Brazil through his own brushstrokes.

The Arrival of Dom João VI to Bahia (1952) by Candido PortinariProjeto Portinari

Portinari’s dedication to his work took a toll on his health. While painting panels for a church in 1948 toxic ingredients in the paint caused a hemorrhage that sent him to hospital.

Young Women of Arcozelo (1940) by Candido PortinariProjeto Portinari

He painted over 5,000 artworks, ranging from small sketches to massive murals. Most of these didn’t go on public display until after his death.

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