Calixto: Progress Discourse and Paulista Identity

Benedito Calixto em seu ateliê. (1920) by Autor DesconhecidoMuseu do Café

The works of Benedicto Calixto commissioned for the Official Coffee Exchange are among the most important of his vast production. But what do they represent? Why are they there? What was the context in which they were created? Painting has the great potential to be historical evidence. Not only because of its elements, such as landscapes, buildings, historical figures and clothing, but also for showing the mentality of its artists and contemporary issues. During the first decades of the 20th century, different sectors of the collective intellectuality sought to understand and define the profile of the young nation. While there were divergences regarding the evaluations and the paths to be followed towards modernity, there was an understanding that the Centennial Celebrations of the Independence of Brazil would be the key moment for the construction of the national identity. The Paulistas dedicated their efforts to disqualifying Rio de Janeiro as the center of nationality, and elect São Paulo as the new locus of modernity and brazilianness. Through a vast historiographical, artistic and media production, the construction of an identity linked to progress, to the genesis of the nation and to territorial unity was sought as a basis for a project of Paulista hegemony within the national setting. Within this context, the inauguration of the building-monument of the Official Coffee Exchange was planned for the commemorations. Constructed in reinforced concrete in an eclectic style, the building is considered as an advertisement for coffee production and trade, and of São Paulo wealth. A large triptych and two additional paintings were commissioned to Benedicto Calixto to decorate the building’s main hall. The Foundation of the village of Santos triptych belongs to the historical painting artistic genre: it is the representation of a past event – and of its celebrated dignitaries –, of political and national importance. It established the founding landmark of the city and locates it in the construction of the Paulista memory. The two paintings that portray Santos in 1822 and 1922, which emphasize the city’s urban transformation, intend to outline an evolutionary historical timeline, and along with other works of art and the building itself, compose an ode to progress. In order to bring the public closer to the artist’s context and inspiration, and with the representations present in the paintings, which are currently part of its collection, the Coffee Museum presents the “Benedicto Calixto: Progress Discourse and Paulista Identity” exhibit.

Contrato da Cia. Construtora de Santos com o pintor Benedito Calixto p.01. (1921) by Companhia Construtora de SantosMuseu do Café

The commission

In less than five years of operation, the Official Coffee Exchange moved from the ground floor of a commercial building to its monumental four-story headquarters, which required the purchase and expropriation of a few properties for its feasibility. Also, a request for the construction of its top floor was necessary, since the city’s building code had no plans for such tall buildings at that site. It was a monument building to coffee and progress, planned to inaugurate the Centennial of Independence commemorations.

Contrato da Cia. Construtora de Santos com o pintor Benedito Calixto p.02. (1921) by Companhia Construtora de SantosMuseu do Café

Contrato de Benedicto Calixto com a Companhia Constructora de Santos, 31 jan. 1921. Acervo Procuradoria Geral do Estado de São Paulo – Regional Santos.

Vista de Santos. (1864) by Militão Augusto de AzevedoMuseu do Café


At the time of the execution of the paintings, Calixto was already recognized for his work and had produced portraits, landscapes and historical scenes for the Paulista Museum. Unlike the works of itinerant painters, who portrayed what they “witnessed” with their own eyes, the majority of Calixto’s production is the interpretation of past events and landscapes. His practice as a painter was rarely dissociated from his trade as a historian, constantly using photographs, such as those of Militão Augusto de Azevedo; drawings, such as those of Hercule Florence; cartographies, catalogs and other documents researched in public archives. By means of scientific investigation, which is common in historical painting, the intention was to distance the fictitious and exaltation character, and legitimize the painting as a document. In addition, he also produced his own photographs to assist in the painting of landscapes or in the composition of scenes.
His work as a member of the Historical and Geographical Institute of São Paulo was quite significant for the exchange of ideas with historians of the time, such as Affonso d’Escragnolle Taunay, Capistrano de Abreu, also including Washington Luís, in a movement of construction and valorization of the Paulista identity. During the entire production of the paintings, he maintained constant correspondence, especially with Taunay, who was the Director of the Paulista Museum and his friend. In these letters, they talked about the commissioning of paintings for an exhibition at the museum, which would also be inaugurated during the centennial commemorations, in addition to exchanging information about the progress of his research, historical documents and archeological discoveries. Through this contact, Calixto showed sketches and sought criticism and suggestions about the decisions he made in his paintings. 

View of Santos. Militão Augusto de Azevedo, c. 1864. Moreira Salles Institute Collection.

Tela de Santos em 1822 no ateliê (1922) by Autor DesconhecidoMuseu do Café

Painting of Santos in 1822 in the atelier. Unknown author, c. 1922. Paulista Museum Collection.

Carta de Benedicto Calixto a Affonso de Taunay (1921) by Benedicto CalixtoMuseu do Café

Letter from Benedicto Calixto to Affonso de Taunay, May 26, 1921. Paulista Museum Collection.

São Vicente, May 26, 1921
Distinguished Friend Mr. Dr. Aff. [Affonso] de E. [Escragnolle] Taunay
Greetings, Please send me a copy of your latest book on the history of São Paulo, of which I have heard great references.

You are not aware of the fact that I have been put in charge by the Santos Construction Company, to decorate the Grand Hall of the Coffee Exchange and that I have already designed the composition of a nine by two and a half meter panel, which has been accepted by the architect engineers of said Company and by the Coffee Exchange board. This central panel, divided into a triptych, represents the “Founding of the Village of Santos” by Braz Cubas. I have already started on the frames, with the canvases; but, before I start on the respective subject, I would like to hear your learned opinion, not only as a historian, but from an artistic point of view, of which you my friend, whether you think so or not–, are well-versed having the atavistic gift of your ancestors.

Dear friend, if you were to come to Santos soon, I would like to ask you to visit me, telling me the day and time beforehand. Otherwise, I will visit you at your home, if you thus allow me, bringing the sketches or the photographs.
I have also requested, from Dr. Roberto and the Belgian architects, a project for the hall’s large stained-glass ceiling, which was greatly appreciated, especially by the architects.
This composition, which my son is preparing a clean copy in a larger size, represents three cycles or phases of our Paulista history: - “The Conquest of the Sertão”, by the Bandeirantes, “The Agriculture” and “The Trade and the Industry”.

Carta de Benedicto Calixto a Affonso de Taunay (1921) by Benedicto CalixtoMuseu do Café

In the central part (“Conquest of Sertão”) “The Vision of Anhanguera” is highlighted, which they claim is well thought out. And it seems to adapt well, as an allegory, to the proposed decorative purpose. This is what I need to show you, listening to your opinion, before I send it to Belgium, where the stained glass work will be carried out.
In addition to this work, I also have also works about the “History of Santos”, which I intend, God willing, to complete for the next Centennial of Independence. I am bearing the cost of these works with a certain amount of personal sacrifice.
For such a purpose, I was forced to build a new atelier here at my farm, where I have already spent a few contos de reis, which I do not have.
I am, therefore, quite in debt, but I have faith in God that I will be able to go forward with these ideas, which have for many years been germinating in my (?).
I look forward to your reply.
Yours truly,
B. [Benedicto] Calixto

Carta de Benedicto Calixto a Affonso de Taunay (1922) by Benedicto CalixtoMuseu do Café

São Vicente, February 24, 1922
Distinguished Friend Mr. Dr. Aff. [Affonso] de E. [Escragnolle] Taunay

I received your letter on the 20th of this month. I did not reply immediately since I was in São Paulo.
On Monday I received, at the London Bank, the three contos de reis as you will see, for all three receipts, having already sent to the respective Agency, the 1st and 2nd copy, with double stamps, as requested.
Enclosed is the list with the legends of the “Old Santos” paintings. The topographic map that accompanies the “Panorama” is being drawn by my son in São Paulo, according to the drawings that I made. As soon as it is completed, as well as the frame I ordered in São Paulo, I will tell you beforehand. I also ordered a metal plate with the title, which will be attached to said frame.
Dr. Telles should have already sent the reproduction of the Bandeirantes’ portraits, for the Coffee Exchange’s stained glass works and charcoal drawings. I will send you the three missing ones at a later time, which are already at Conrado’s workshops in São Paulo. They are probably “quite similar”, especially the one of Carlos Pedrozo da Silveira, which I did from a photograph of Dr. Alarico’s father given to me by Dr. Agenor Silveira. Dr. Agenor was enthusiastic when he saw the picture of his great grandfather: “It is splendid and really looks like him!”, he exclaimed.
From your Friend and Laborer
B. [Benedicto] Calixto

Carta de Benedicto Calixto a Affonso de Taunay (1922) by Benedicto CalixtoMuseu do Café

São Vicente, July 9, 1922
Distinguished Friend Mr. Dr. Aff. [Affonso] de E. [Escragnolle] Taunay

I still have not been able to find the “Colonial Brazil” and “Brazil Kingdom” sketches, and in case you find it there, please send them by mail.
What I wish to tell you is the following:
We intend to reproduce them on printing plates or three-color printing, the various Exchange paintings and panels. I have already talked to Dr. Roberto and Aroldo about this and they believe that I should reproduce not only panels and stained glass, but also the monument and respective details, and the Coffee Exchange Palace itself, etc., and that I may also equally reproduce the aspects of “Old Santos” which are at the Paulista Museum and here at my atelier.
It will therefore be necessary, for this album or polyanthea, a description, albeit brief, about the history of these motifs and to remember my illustrious friend.

Carta de Benedicto Calixto a Affonso de Taunay (1922) by Benedicto CalixtoMuseu do Café

As busy as I have been, I cannot be in charge of this publication nor is it appropriate, since people will feel that I wish to advertise my works.
And, additionally, I lack the competence.
I am ready however, to provide you with all the necessary information, especially for the part that refers to the early days of the foundation of Santos, and the hospital, up to these days, and of the other respective paintings and maps, with which you are already familiar.
We can do this, either at the Construction Company expense (as agreed) or at our own expense, aiming at some profit, since neither you nor I can spend any amount on this publication, in addition to our work.

Carta de Benedicto Calixto a Affonso de Taunay (1922) by Benedicto CalixtoMuseu do Café

The Casa Weisflog has offered more than once, to publish it at their expense, offering me some profit.
I ask you to tell me frankly, if this is convenient for you and if you are willing to help me with this deal.
When you come to Santos, please tell me in advance, so I can expect you and perhaps make an agreement about this issue.
If necessary, I am especially willing to go to São Paulo for this purpose.
I look forward to your reply.
B. [Benedicto] Calixto

Vista do Morro do Pacheco, possivelmente utilizada por Calixto. (1910) by Autor DesconhecidoMuseu do Café

Vista do Morro do Pacheco, possivelmente utilizada por Calixto para a confecção da tela Santos em 1922. Autor desconhecido, déc.1910. Acervo Museu Paulista.

Mapa de Santos por Jules Martin (1878) by Jules MartinMuseu do Café

Mapa da cidade de Santos e São Vicente possivelmente utilizado por Benedicto Calixto para confecção da tela Santos em 1922. Autor: Jules Martin, 1878. Acervo Museu Paulista.

Tela central do tríptico inacabada. (1922) by Autor DesconhecidoMuseu do Café

A Fundação da Vila de Santos (1545)

A cena criada por Calixto é resultado de seus estudos históricos, assim como a representação de um imaginário paulista do qual o pintor foi grande colaborador. Ele apresenta a composição social e hierárquica da vila, representada pelos grupos civis, religiosos e militares, assim como grupos indígenas, com uma evidente preocupação com a genealogia paulista, incluindo os povoadores e principais personagens da capitania de São Vicente, por mais improvável que fosse a presença de todos na ocasião. O momento retratado seria o ato oficial de elevação do povoado à vila, realizado pela maior autoridade presente, Brás Cubas, que sobe os degraus do pelourinho e, pondo as mãos nas argolas, lê a carta foral de predicamento. O número considerável de construções já edificadas que constituem o cenário indica a escolha do autor de considerar o reconhecimento da legitimidade e a organização política, administrativa e jurídica de um povoado como o momento de sua fundação. 

Telas laterais do tríptico no ateliê (1922) by Autor DesconhecidoMuseu do Café

Telas laterais do tríptico no ateliê. Autor desconhecido, c.1922. Acervo Museu Paulista.

Fundação da Villa de Santos (1545) (1922) by Benedicto CalixtoMuseu do Café

Coats of Arms of Santos and Brás Cubas: In the upper middle part of the panel we can observe two coats of arms: one of the city of Santos, composed of an armillary sphere with a green and yellow stripe in front of the caduceus of Mercury, in a red shield; and the other of Brás Cubas, layered over it, with five gold shields in a larger green shield. Above them is a crown, and around it are two coffee branches bearing fruit; under it is the Latin inscription Patriam Charitatem et Libertatem docui, which means, “To the Country I taught Charity and Liberty”.

Coat of Arms of the Captaincy of São Vicente – Martim Afonso de Souza: In the top part, to the left: Coat of Arms of the Captaincy of São Vicente donee - Martim Afonso de Sousa: Captain-Major of the Portuguese fleet that came to Brazil between 1531 and 1532, was the founder of the town of São Vicente and first done of the captaincy with the same name.

Brasão da Capitania de São Vicente: Brasão do donatário da Capitania de S. Vicente, Martim Afonso de Sousa: capitão-mor da esquadra portuguesa que veio ao Brasil entre 1531 e 1532, foi fundador da vila de São Vicente e primeiro donatário da capitania de mesmo nome.

Coat of Arms of the Captaincy of Santo Amaro – Marquess of Cascaes: Descendent of Pero Lopes, brother of Martim Afonso, the marquess understood that his domain also extended to the territory of the Captaincy of São Vicente, being involved in a long legal battle with the Countess of Vinhedo, of which he came out victorious. Calixto, however, does not acknowledge his legitimacy, attributing to him only the Captaincy of Santo Amaro.

Coat of Arms of the Captaincy of Itanhaém – Countess of Vimieiro: After the setbacks with the Marquess of Cascaes regarding the dispute for the Captaincy of São Vicente, the countess transferred her headquarters to Itanhaém. Calixto places the countess among the main donees, emphasizing the legitimacy of Martim Afonso’s genealogical branch, of which the countess was part.

Coat of Arms of the Captaincy of São Paulo – Marquess of Aracaty: This captaincy would be formed by the union of the Captaincies of São Vicente and Santo Amaro, land purchased by the crown, of which the town of Santos was part. João Carlos Augusto de Oyenhausen-Gravenburg was the last Captain-General of São Paulo before the Brazil’s Independence (1819–1822).

Council Hall: The building where the “good men of the council served” was the symbol of public power and first landmark of the village, also known as the Council Hall and Jail. It was erected around 1545, where the República Square is currently located. In 1585, the Council Hall of Santos donated the old building to the Jesuits, where a school was later built.

Pelourinho: One of the requirements for the promotion of a settlement was the construction of a pelourinho, in the courtyard of the Council Hall. It is presented as a column with a sphere at top, two iron arms and two rings, over granite steps. It was the symbol of jurisdiction and authority of the village, where official acts and the punishment of offenders and criminals were carried out.

Santa Casa de Misericórdia de Todos os Santos Church: The building under construction is the Misericórdia Church, founded in 1543 by Brás Cubas together with the Misericórdia Hospital, and would be the first Mother Church of Santos.

Santa Catarina Chapel: Circa 1540, Luis de Góes and his wife Catarina de Aguilar built a chapel at the foot of a hill where they placed an image of Saint Catherine of Alexandria. In 1591, English privateer Thomas Cavendish sacked the town of Santos, destroyed the chapel and threw the image of the saint in the sea. The Outeiro of Santa Catarina, as it is known, is considered the starting point of the settlement of Santos.

Tupi and Guaianases Indigenous Peoples – Portrayed as allies of the Portuguese bringing plants and flowers as symbolic offerings of peace and alliance. According to the painter, among them are Mameluco women and children, which is the offspring of the two races. Calixto followed the theory that both ethnic groups belonged to the Tupi language branch, but based on new anthropological studies, we now know that the Guaianases belongs to another cultural group: the Macro-Jê.

Carijó Indigenous People: The Guaranis were known at the time as Carijós and occupied a vast area from the coast to the interior, from the south to the southeast, to Paraguay and Bolivia. During the period of conquests, the Portuguese undertook successive war campaigns to hunt down this people, enslaving them. In the painting, the captive Carijós are holding work tools, differing from all the other figures who are present at the event.

Good men: In order to hold a council seat, it was necessary to be a "good man", which was understood as an educated Portuguese man with good standing among the inhabitants. Foreigners, non-Catholics and manual labors could not hold the position.

Military personnel, lancers and halberdiers: One of the first forms of troops used by the Portuguese were the Ordnances, made up by foreign mercenaries. In the colonies, the donee was given the title of captain and was the commander of arms of his jurisdiction, also responsible for conscripting inhabitants in the event of war.

Brás Cubas: Portuguese, born in 1507, was a nobleman and explorer. He arrived in São Vicente in 1532 with the squadron of Martim Afonso de Souza, his friend and squire. In 1536, he received Sesmarias where he developed sugarcane agriculture and set up a mill. He founded the Santa Casa de Misericórdia de Todos os Santos hospital in 1543 and granted the status that elevated the settlement of Santos to the category of Village. He was Major Captain of the captaincy on several occasions.

Captain-Majors and Loco Lieutenants: Members of the small Portuguese nobility, who were given royal authorization to become representatives of the donee captain during his absence. They represented their authority and interests in the respective captaincies, guaranteeing the proceeds and managing their assets. They also served as interlocutors between populations and the donees.

Gonçalo Monteiro: Arrived in São Vicente in 1532 with the squadron of Martim Afonso de Sousa. He was the priest of the first parish of the captaincy, and was a Captain-Major between 1533 and 1539.

Franciscans: Were the first missionaries who came with the fleet of Pedro Álvares de Cabral. The docked at São Vicente in 1532, celebrated the first divine worship and built a chapel in honor of Saint Anthony. They left with Martim Afonso de Souza on his voyage to the East Indies in 1533. Only in 1585 would the Franciscan Order permanently establish itself in Brazil.

Pedro Martins Namorado: Assumed the office as town judge in 1544, appointed by the São Vicente village councilors and was essential for the elevation of the settlement of Santos to village. To show that he was a lay judge, his emblem is a red staff.

Cristóvão de Aguiar de Altero: In 1543 was appointed Captain-Major of the Captaincy of São Vicente by Lady Ana Pimentel, the wife of Martim Afonso, who had assigned her his power of attorney due to his voyage to the Indies. With the appointment of Brás Cubas in 1545, Cristóvão de Aguiar de Altero was appointed as a white-staff Judge (literate).

Pedro Fernandes: Brother of Pascoal Fernandes, he was a public official who had the function of recording all the acts of local processes.

Pascoal Fernandes and Domingos Pires: Genoese sailor and gunsmith, respectively, formed a partnership and settled in Enguaguaçu, occupying a plot of land that extended from the Estuary Channel to the Itororó Fountain. They built a house on the banks of the São Jerônimo river, where they lived and worked for several years without a sesmaria letter, until the settlement that would become the village of Santos was formed.

Luis de Góes and Catarina de Aguilar: Nobles, they disembarked in São Vicente in 1532 and two years later, settled on Enguaguaçu lands. They were responsible for the construction of the Saint Catherine Chapel, in addition to donating land for the construction of the first Santa Casa hospital. When they returned to Portugal in 1553, their son, Cipião de Góes (also shown in the painting), stayed in the town a while longer.

João Ramalho: No one knows exactly how he arrived on the Brazilian coast, whether by exile or shipwreck. At the time of Martim Afonso’s arrival, he was already married with Bartira, the daughter of Tibiriçá, the leader of the Tupiniquins, and had great prestige with them, playing a key role in the colonization of the captaincy starting in 1532. With Antônio Rodrigues and the Bachelor of Cananéia he established the first Carijó slave-trading centers of the region.

Antônio Rodrigues: Probably an exiled. We know that he had a trading post for the sale of slaves in the Porto das Naus area in São Vicente.

Master Bartolomeu Fernandes Mourão (seated) and his son, Antonio Fernandes: Blacksmith of the Martim Afonso armada, he began practicing his craft in the settlement of Santos. He was responsible for the construction of the Nossa Senhora do Desterro Chapel Grotto, which originated the monastery of the Order of São Bento, in the 17th century.

Tela de Santos em 1822 no ateliê (1922) by Autor DesconhecidoMuseu do Café

Santos 1822-1922

In the side paintings, Calixto portrays Santos at two different moments: the year of Brazil’s Independence and the commemorations of the Centennial of Independence, when they were painted. The urban transformations of the cities became the subject of interest of photographers and painters during the 19th century and early 20th century. His intention to show the development of the town during these 100 years is clear, by choosing a panoramic view and the absence of people, which are present in the central painting, emphasizing urban constructions and the occupation of the territory. In addition, Calixto exaggerated the angles of the scenes and deliberately changed the real positions and heights of the hills that he chose as a point of view, a pictorial feature he used to give the scenes a greater idea of depth. On the painting to the left, the choice of a high viewpoint of the Barnabé Island, on the other side of the estuary’s channel, allowed the painter to frame a good part of the island, emphasizing its geography, with its hills and streams, as well as the urban outline of the small town. Almost all of the prominent buildings are chapels, monasteries and churches. On the painting to the right, the perspective is from the top of the Pacheco’s Hill, on the island itself. There is little concern with the geographical space, and the urban area occupies practically the entire painting, bordered by the expanded port. The layout of the checkered streets is almost uniform, which was common in countless re-urbanization projects in Calixto’s day, gave the impression of a planned, modern and Europeanized town. Except for the cathedral, the prominent buildings are now commercial buildings and port facilities, with its large warehouses and docks packed with ships. The trees at the extremities of the paintings, close to the observer, serve as accessories that invite the analysis of the collection of works. Here we notice Calixto’s intent of outlining a linear timeline of the town’s history, from its foundation to modernity, on a path to progress.

Vista de Santos. (1864) by Militão Augusto de AzevedoMuseu do Café

Tela "Santos em 1822 visto da Ilha Braz Cubas (actual Bernabé)"

Porto de Santos em 1822 (1922) by Benedicto CalixtoMuseu do Café

“Brasil Colônia 1549–1816”: The initial date is the foundation of the city of Salvador, the first capital of the General Government of Brazil; the second date is the elevation of the country to United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarve. The Coat of Arms, under a crown, has an armillary sphere in its center, an instrument used in navigation that was also present in the Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of Portugal.

“Brasil-Reino 1816–1822”: Refers to the brief period of the political union with Portugal and the rupture materialized by the Independence, illustrated by its respective Coat of Arms.

“Work and Order”: Uses the symbology of organized work in beehives to indicate the ideals pursued in the project of a country under construction.

“Agriculture and Trade”: The main economic basis of Brazil during that period are represented by the caduceus and Mercury’s winged helmet in front of a rake and hoe over two coffee branches.

Outeiro and 2nd Santa Catarina Chapel: After the destruction of the first chapel by privateers, Father Alexandre de Gusmão, with the help of the population, rebuilt the chapel, this time at the top of the Outeiro. Around the 1870’s, the chapel was demolished to open the Santa Catarina street, currently Visconde do Rio Branco.

Jesuit School: In 1585, the City Council of Santos donated to the Jesuits, the building where up to then, the Town’s Council Hall was located, which was turned into the São Miguel’s Church and School. When the Jesuits were banished in 1759, the School was confiscated and incorporated into the public property. The school’s building was demolished in 1877, and then served several purposes: military hospital, post office and customs house.

Mother Church: Built in 1746 to replace the Misericórdia’s Church, the new Mother Church was an important architectural landmark of Santos during the 18th and 19th centuries. It was demolished in the late 1910’s for the expansion of the República Square, with plans to transfer it to the José Bonifácio.Square.

2nd Council Hall and Jail: In 1585, the new Council Hall was installed at the old Largo do Carmo (currently Barão do Rio Branco Square), which was rebuilt twice, in 1697 and 1723. It was demolished mid 1860’s when it was transferred to its new building at Andradas Square.

Conjunto do Carmo: Located at the what is now the Barão do Rio Branco Square the colonial Carmelite complex is formed by the Church of the First Order of Our Lady of Carmo (to the left), built in 1599, by the Chapel of the Third Order of Our Lady of Carmo (to the right) of the 18th century, and by the convent annexed to the building. At the turn of the 20th century, part of the convent was demolished for the opening of Augusto Severo street and later, housed the Pantheon of the Andradas.

Campo da Misericórdia: Located at the current location of Mauá Square, the Campo da Misericórdia was thus named after the transfer of the Misericórdia’s church and hospital to this location in 1665; the buildings were demolished in the early 19th century. Its name was changed in 1846 to Largo da Coroação in honor of D. Pedro II who became king that year, and in 1887, the place received its current name in honor of Visconde de Mauá.

N. S. do Rosário Church: The Brotherhood of Our Lady of the Rosary of the Black Men was created in 1652, with an altar at the old Mother Church. In 1822, the Rosário’s Curch was built at the Largo do Rosário, now Rui Barbosa Square.

Chapel of Jesus, Maria e José: Built in the late 18th century, the chapel was located on the waterfront, next to the São Jerônimo creek, also known as the Carvalho’s Chapel. In ruins, it was demolished in 1902 due to construction work to expand the port by the Cia. Docas de Santos.

São Bento Monastery: In 1650, the Order of São Bento built the Monastery annexed to the Our Lady of Desterro chapel, built in 1631 by Bartolomeu Fernandes Mourão.

Valongo’s Church: The Franciscans arrived in Brazil in 1638 and were immediately invited to build a convent in Santos. In 1859, the Franciscan Order sold the convent for the construction of the São Paulo Railway station. According to oral tradition, the workers were unable to remove the image of Saint Anthony from the place and, because of popular uproar, the church was spared.

Navy Arsenal: The facilities were located where the Barão do Rio Branco Square is currently located, in front of the Conjunto do Carmo. It included several craftsmen to repair boats and later on, ship building.

Vista do Morro do Pacheco, possivelmente utilizada por Calixto. (1910) by Autor DesconhecidoMuseu do Café

Tela "Porto de Santos em 1922" visto do Morro do Pacheco

Porto de Santos em 1922 (1922) by Benedicto CalixtoMuseu do Café

“Brasil Império”– 1822–1889”: The Imperial Coat of Arms consists of an armillary sphere over a cross of the Order of Christ, on a green shield, surrounded by 20 stars representing its provinces, on a blue background. There is a crown at the top, a branch of coffee and a flowery tobacco plant around it. It includes the period from the Proclamation of Independence to the Proclamation of the Republic.

“Brasil República”– 1889–1922”: The Coat of Arms of Brazil, designed by Artur Zauer, was commissioned by the first president of the republic, Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca. It consists of a celestial-blue shield with stars forming the Southern Cross constellation, over a five-pointed star, with a raised sword. Around it, a coffee branch and a tobacco plant, with the resplendence of gold in the background.

“Arts and Industry”: Shows a group of objects: a cogwheel, a paint palette and brush, a worked capitol, a lyre reminiscent of music and poetry, a bust of composer Antônio Carlos Gomes and the first page of the opera, “O Guarani”.

“Evolution and Progress”: A winged wheel in the clouds and the resplendence of the sun, and the inscription of the Coat of Arms indicate the positivist ideals that guided the author and his concept of the ideal society.

Itapema’s Fort: The correct date of the fort’s construction is unknown, which was also called Vera Cruz, but there is documentary evidence that it already existed in the 16th century. This fort was part of the Vila de Santos’ defense, providing a “crossfire” with the Forte da Vila (Town Fort), which was near the old customs house. In the 18th century, it underwent a process of decadence, accusing its inefficiency.

República Square: Formed by the old Meridional and Setentrional streets, whose lots were purchased by the public administration during the final decades of the 19th century, for better traffic circulation to the new customs house (1880), and by the old Largo da Matriz, demolished in 1909, when it was consolidated in an urbanistic manner as a square.

Barão do Rio Branco Square: Built where the former Navy Arsenal was located, in front of the Conjunto do Carmo. Located there was the Martin’s Palace, built by the coffee commissioner and former council member José Domingues Martins. In 1924, it underwent a renovation and expansion to house the Santos Hotel, inaugurated the following year and becoming one of the city’s main hotels at the time.

Western Telegraph Company: The company started its activities in Brazil in 1873, by means of a telegraph service concession, for a period of 100 years, linking the main ports on the Brazilian coast to Europe. The building portrayed by Calixto, built in 1916, was located at the Largo Senador Vergueiro and stood out because of its clock tower.

Official Coffee Exchange: Although the institution had been operating since 1917, its headquarters was inaugurated on September 7, 1922, as part of the commemorations of the Independence Centennial. In addition to coffee trading, it classified coffee beans and provided statistics; it also housed coffee institutions and offices.

Coliseu Theater: Its history starts in 1896, with the creation of the Companhia Colyseu Santista, which focused on sports activities. In 1909, it was re-inaugurated and focused on artistic and cultural shows, receiving renowned national and international artists. In 1923, it was once again sold and underwent renovations and expansion, being inaugurated the following year and becoming one of the city’s main theaters.

Cathedral: In 1909, the foundation stone was laid for the new mother church, which would replace its predecessor, which was demolished for the expansion of the República Square that same year. Temporarily inaugurated in 1924, it took over 30 years to be completed. With a Neo-gothic style, it was still under construction at the time of the painting, which indicates that the painter had access to the project created by German engineer and architect Maximilian Hehl, in order to paint the completed version.

Casarões do Valongo: The houses were built in the neoclassical style during the 1860’s and 1870’s. They housed commercial businesses, such as Zerrenner imports, Bullow & Cia and, at the time they were portrayed by Calixto, also housed the Santos City Hall and Council Hall. Later, they served as hotels, bars and offices, until 1985 when a great fire burned down part of the buildings.

São Paulo Railway Station: The railroad connecting Santos to Jundiaí, the first to cross over the Serra do Mar, was inaugurated in 1867. The railroad, and English monopoly, was key for the growth of exports and imports via Port of Santos. Its station was renovated and expanded circa 1901, acquiring the aspect portrayed by Calixto.

Credits: Story


João Doria
Governador do Estado de São Paulo

Sérgio Sá Leitão
Secretário de Cultura e Economia Criativa do Estado de São Paulo

Cláudia Pedrozo
Secretária - Adjunta de Cultura e Economia Criativa do Estado de São Paulo



Guilherme Braga Abreu Pires Filho

Carlos Henrique Jorge Brando

Alessandra de Almeida Santos
Diretora Executiva

Thiago Santos
Diretor Administrativo-financeiro

Daniel Ramos
Gerente Administrativo-financeiro

Caroline Nóbrega
Gerente de Comunicação e Desenvolvimento Institucional

Marcela Rezek
Coordenadora Técnica do Museu da Imigração

Bruno Bortoloto do Carmo
Pietro Marchesini Amorim

Bruno Bortoloto do Carmo

Osvaldo Abreu
Assistente de produção

Equipe Técnica do Museu do Café

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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