Lectures 2016

Anna O. Marley (Historical American Art, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Estado Unidos)

Marcando Historia/ Making History in American Art Academies, 1781-1893.

This paper will critically examine the complex relationships between the three oldest art academies in the Americas and expressions of nationalism during the long nineteenth century. Notable art academies were founded in Mexico City (1781), Philadelphia (1805), and Rio de Janeiro (1816) at the turn of the nineteenth century. By focusing in particular on the academic history paintings that were produced by artists working at these three schools this paper will ask, what roles did these institutions play in defining national histories and identities? How did art academies in Mexico, the US, and Brazil shape education programs aimed at producing modern citizens? To what extent did national politics determine the functions of art academies? What types of visual idioms were deployed by art academies to shape national consciousness? How were the international conventions of academic history paintings used in these three countries to explicate their complex and individual projects of nation building and expansion within the transnational discourse of modern painting?

The history paintings that are the subject of this paper are embedded in their respective nation’s concept of what it means to be American, and challenge my own institution’s history and long-standing mission of exhibiting “American Art” to expand its definition outside the boundaries of the United States. Whether it be paintings of Columbus and De Soto that hang alongside those of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson in the United States Capitol, or paintings of Columbus and the Spanish sovereigns Ferdinand and Isabella that hang alongside those of Montezuma and Fray Bartolomé de las Casas in the Museo Nacional in Mexico City, history paintings from the 19th-century form the visual backdrop of conceptions of citizenship and history across all of the Americas.

In a time when scholars are increasingly examining the ideals and legends of America’s “founding,” these tangible things illustrate a period in this hemisphere’s history when Americans – North and South – were struggling to define the political, social, and geographic borders of their nationhood. Visual artists were at the vanguard of this definition, and the grand canvasses they left their countrymen represent the most iconic and lasting examples of this phenomenon. Now is the time to demand that art historians investigate these narratives in the context of the diverse realities of the artists and audiences involved in their conceptions.


Elaine Dias (UNIFESP).

Joachim Le Breton, Henrique José da Silva and Félix-Émile Taunay: Projects, Models and Strategies in the Direction of the Brazilian Artistic System. (1816-1851)

The French Joachim Le Breton, the Portuguese Henrique José da Silva and the French Félix-Émile Taunay  directed the academic studies in Brazil between 1816 and 1851. Although Joachim Le Breton has not arrived to develop the project entitled Escola de Ciências, Artes e Ofícios (School of Sciences, Arts and Crafts), he was appointed director by decree in 1816, shortly after his  arrival in Rio de Janeiro and submited his teaching project to the King d. John VI and Conde da Barca.

Based on French models and the Mexican model released by Alexander von Humboldt in Europe, Le Breton was looking through his plan, to develop the art in Brazil, favoring certain artistic genres, and also the early “industry”. He proposed to Rio de Janeiro and Brazil a future based on progress in trade and also the representation the Luso-Brazilian nation. He kept good strategies for a newly installed absolutist court of Bragança in America, against all his ideological obstacles as Bonapartist and revolutionary. Dead in 1819 for reasons still unknown, the artist Portuguese Henrique José da Silva takes Le Breton place, putting down any pretensions of the French group in the conduct of not yet opened teaching institution.

Noted for his excellence in drawing, it was precisely through it that Silva ruled the academic institution before and after its opening in 1826, still becoming one of the official painters of the court of Pedro I, and also he was the responsible painter for its representation mainly through portraiture. Until his death in 1834, he caught public and internal battles against the French painter Jean-Baptiste Debret and the architect Grandjean de Montigny, trying to undo their works as teachers at the Academy.

This conflict did not include, however, Félix-Émile Taunay. He was professor of landscape painting, Secretary and author of some reforms during his management and he became director of the Academy, just after the Silva’s death. Taunay was a very strategist since the beginning and he worked close to  the Portuguese director. Taunay was all time close to Grandjean de Montigny and far from Debret (who returned in 1831 to France). His academic work gave new directions for the institution, expanding some Silva projects and especially, leading to the institution French Academic models, creating the brazilian art system with awards, exhibitions and the valorization of the artist in the society and the Pedro II Empire.

Three directions for different purposes and aimed at various leaders and projects: Le Breton with d. John VI, Silva with Pedro I  and Taunay with Pedro II. Their actions were directed to and from these leaders, with well-defined strategies and consistent artistic models to these different policies.

I propose to analyse the aspects that differ and approximate  the three directors, their artistic projects and international models adapted to society and the Brazilian culture, as well as their political intentions and direct relations with the leaders at different times in our history .


Maraliz Christo (UFJF)

The creation of the Rio de Janeiro National School of Fine Arts and the collection of autographs in the Viscountess of Cavalcanti’s fan: choices of renewal

The Viscountess of Cavalcanti, Amélia Machado Cavalcanti (1852-1946), collected, on a fan, between approximately 1890 and 1945, messages and drawings of 68 famous writers, artists, musicians, actors, scientists, explorers, and politicians of her time. Among the fan’s signers, the visual artists are highlighted. The Viscountess favored artists lauded in the official salons, sought by the art market, late in their careers. Nineteen left their messages, twelve being French (Carolus Duran, Charles Olivier de Penne, Eugène Guillaume, Jean Beraud, Jean Léon Gérôme, Jules Worms, Léon Bonnat, Louis Eugene Lambert, Louis Humbert, Louis Marie Schryver, Paul Landowski, Rosa Bonheur) four Brazilian (Henrique Bernardelli, João Zeferino da Costa, Pedro Weingärtner, and Rodolpho Bernardelli) two Spanish (Raimundo Madrazo and Salvador Sanchez-Barbudo Morales) and one Portuguese (Raphael Bordallo Pinheiro). The fact that all the painters drew on the fan made it quite unique. The painters reproduced details of the works for which they wanted to be remembered by the Viscountess, inviting her to recompose them mentally.

In this account we will analyze, in particular, the presence of the four Brazilian artists. Like most of the collectors at the end of the 19th century, the Viscountess was devoted to European art, which is reflected in the choice of the fan’s signatory artists. What relationships can be established between the Brazilian and European artists found on the fan? At the time they signed it, what roles were they playing in the visual arts system in Brazil? What works did they place on the fan and what did they represent in the construction of their memories?

The Brazilian artists form a unity. Rodolpho and Henrique Bernardelli, as well as Pedro Weingärtner, in 1891, although relatively young, were recognized by critics as accomplished artists, worthy of comparison with João Zeferino da Costa. All are distinguished for their technical expertise, the fruit of long apprenticeships, which included an essential stay in Europe; for participating and winning awards at major exhibitions; as well as for being well-accepted by the critics. In that specific moment, they were a symbol of modernity and embraced a common cause: the restructuring of the old Imperial Academy of Fine Arts.

The question that arises is how private collecting perceived this moment.


María Isabel Baldasarre (CONICET-IDAES/UNSAM – Argentina)

Art Academy times. Artistic education between Buenos Aires and Europe in early 20th century

This paper aims to put in context the creation of the National Academy of Fine Arts of Argentina founded in 1905, a late date if compared with its Latin-American pairs, and renewed a few years later in 1910. Our idea is to analyze which kind of education was offered by this Academy in the first years of the XX century, and compare it with that received by Argentinian grant recipients who decided to study in Europe, under the guidance of the newly created Patronato de Becarios. We will focus in the opportunities and also difficulties implied in this “artist life” carried on in the Old Continent.


Pedro Xexéo (MNBA) e Adriana Clen (UNB).

The reinvention of classicism: “The Allegory of Arts” by Léon Pallière.

The “Allegory of Arts” by Léon Pallière was painted from the commission of the director of the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts, Manuel de Araújo Porto-Alegre, in 1855. Considered the main decorative work of the newly renovated library, it reactivated, within the ambit of the new political and pedagogical proposal of the institution, the dimension of classicism as an inexhaustible model of artistic representation. A reverence for fundamental sense of symmetrical composition, the light nuance of colors, shadows and lights and even the solemn presence of objects and muses of Architecture, Painting, Sculpture, Music and Poetry confirm the current interest in ancient art in Brazil. The synthesis achieved in the work of Pallière was exalted by the academy teachers, who approved the production of a commemorative medal in recognition of the effort and the aesthetic quality of his allegorical painting.

The execution circumstances of the painting and the fourteen portraits of artists, started immediately after the conclusion of his scholarship in Europe, suggests the affiliation to specific models for this work of art, either by the comparison of physiognomy or by the recurrent theme of allegories of arts in the main exponents of neoclassical painting in the first half of the nineteenth century. At this moment, the classicism was tensioned, especially in Europe, by the recognition of more and more expressive of the romantic modernity, which seems to have been restored by Léon Pallière to justify its commitment as a student of an academy that was still in expectation of the faithful reproduction of artistic models of the past and that was also part of an identity constantly affirmed as a legacy of the French Artistic Mission. Therefore, the ancestry of antiquity served as a legitimate reference to academic artistic values in spite of Araújo Porto-Alegre’s manifested interest in the renewing of Brazilian culture that had in its originality features the formation of a new ideal of political emancipation and aesthetics.