Brazilian Culture: An Introduction to the Study of Culture in Brazil

By Fernando de Azevedo; William Rex Crawford | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE
ART

Art in its various forms in the colonial period -- During the Dutch domination in Pernambuco -- Sacred architecture and the baroque -- The early churches of Bahia and of Minas Gerais -- The cloisters of the Northwest -- The painting and decoration of the churches -- Sculpture: Aleijadinho -- Religious art and carving -- An original Brazilian art -- Master Valentim -- Goldsmithing and the art of jewel cutting -- The colonial house -- Religious music and popular music -- The first Brazilian composer: Father José Maurício -- The mission of French artists ( 1816) -- The Academy of Arts-Grandjean de Montigny, architect -- The first expositions of painting -- The rupture with the art of the colonial tradition -- The awakening of Brazilian feeling in art -- Painters of historical pictures-Vitor Meireles and Pedro Américo -- Brazilian painting of manners: Almeida Júnior -- The great landscape painters -- Henrique Bernardelli and Batista da Costa -- The fine arts and the industrial arts -- Art enters journalism: caricature -- Brazilian music -- The Conservatory of Music -- Carlos Gomes -- The movement of modern art -- Traditionalists and innovators -- The sculpture of V. Brecheret -- The minor arts -- Painting and its dominant figures -- Portinari -- Architecture and the breaking of the bonds between the useful and the beautiful -- Music: Villa-Lôbos -- The public and the artist -- Museums and picture galleries -- Historians and critics of art

IN HIS REPLY to the investigation made by Foi et Vie on humanism, Romain Rolland, referring to the excessively narrow idea that university education has given us of the "literature" of a people, shows the necessity of widening the boundaries of this notion beyond the works called literary, which are not more than one story of the edifice of culture. "It is not, for example, knowing Germany (neither its thought nor its art), if we reduce it to its men of letters. . . . It is useful to remember the river Rhine with its great mystics Eckhart, Böhme. And culture, is it something assured by books? Would not the exercise of logical and constructive reason profit quite as much or more with the study of a great prelude, with a fugue of J. S. Bach, as with that of a poem or novel? And what poem, what novel of Germany goes farther in the analysis of the human heart than German sculpture of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries? A great people does not express through its written language except in part, either its sensitivity or its experiences of life and its reason."1 Great as may have been, then, the predominance of literary manifestations in our cultural history -- and this preponderance reveals in itself less a trait of the national temperament than the character of the intellectual education which prevailed in the colony and the Empire -- one could not claim to know Brazil without the study of its culture in other forms, plastic, pictorial, and rhythmic, which are as important for the comprehension of a people as the creation of literary genius. It is by art in all of its forms, and not only by the

____________________
1
In Pour un humanisme nouveau (Cahiers de Foi et Vie, Paris), by Paul Arbousse-Bastide; preface by F. Strowski.

-273-

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