The First Art in Brazil
The first type of art in Brazil was from the ancient native and colonial cultures. In the 16th century, Portugal colonized Brazil. At this time, the Portuguese state was quite primitive.
This caused very little artistic expression. The native peoples of Brazil possibly produced a wide range of artwork, but there is hardly any information known about this. There is also very little artwork that remains from this early time period.
The only works that still exist are from certain cultures. An example of this is painted pottery from the Marajoara.
This Brazilian art is known to have officially started in the late 16th century.
Roman Catholic priests (who came from Portugal to civilize the Indians) were considered to be the earliest Western artists that worked in Brazil. Jesuits also had a vital part in the development of art in Brazil.
In the missionary organizations they set up, Jesuits taught religion through art. All of them worked in the Baroque style. Baroque typically refers works of art, craft, or design that are considered have many decorative elements.
Until the beginning of the 19th century, this was the main style of art in Brazil.
Baroque art began to blossom in the 17th and 18th centuries in Bahia and Pernambuco. The artistry within this style grew quickly down the coast along with certain inland areas.
Manuel de Costa, who resided in Minas, was considered the one of the best Brazilian Baroque artists. Another reputable Baroque artist in Minas was sculptor-architect Aleijadinho.
Neoclassicism, Romanticism and Realism
Visual art in Brazil completely changed in the 19th century. This was due to the start of the French Artistic Mission (in 1816).
The French Artistic Mission in Brazil was a group of French artists that migrated to Rio de Janeiro. This group greatly supported and encouraged the neoclassical style.
The leader of The French Artistic Mission was named Jaochim Lebreton. He brought about the Academy of Fine Arts. In the 19th century, this was considered the most significant and active place for visual arts in Brazil. It caused a revolution in many types of Brazilian.
A few decades later, the introduction of the first Romantic painters came out of the Academy. Artists like Victor Meirelles and Pedro Américo created memorable pieces regarding national identity.
Brazilian romanticism was different than European romanticism in certain aspects. It did not focus as much on fantasy, drama, death and violence, which often featured in European works of art.
Brazilian art and realism were introduced to one another in the late 19th century. Highly realistic depictions of nature and of the people of Brazil increased greatly at this time.
Some of the artists that were well known for their realist works were Joo Simões Lopes Neto, and, most importantly, Machado de Assis – one of the masters in Brazilian literature.
Almeida Junior, Pedro Weingärtner, Oscar Pereira da Silva, and other Realist painters displayed folk types in their pieces using unique colors and light.