Candido Portinari's 'Head of Beethoven'

Take a closer look at the Brazilian artist's drawing of a bust of Beethoven, created before achieved international recognition.

Head of Beethoven (1927) by Candido PortinariProjeto Portinari

Head of Beethoven

Portinari painted this Head of Beethoven very early in his career, in 1927.

At only 24 years old, young Portinari had yet to be granted the European Travel Prize that would kickstart his artistic career.

At the time, he drew portraits of several famous musicians like...

...Franz Schubert, Arthur Rubinstein, Yehudi Menuhin, Carlos Gomes, Francisco Mignone, Francisco Braga...

...Radamés Gnatalli, Oscar Lorenzo-Fernández, Joubert de Carvalho, Zacharias Autuori, and Oscar Borgeth.

He also made around 70 other works with music as the central theme.

Perhaps the interest in the theme came from his father, Giovan Battista, who was a musician.

When he arrived at Portinari's birth city of Brodowski, in the south of Brazil, he formed a band titled "Carlos Gomes Band", honoring the important Brazilian opera composer.

Head of Beethoven belongs to this series of thematic drawings, and shows young Portinari's natural talent to convey human expressions.

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