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The descriptive current in Brazilian visual arts: a comparative study between painting, photography and literature

Grant number: 11/06302-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2011
Effective date (End): July 31, 2015
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Arts - Plastic Arts
Principal Investigator:Domingos Tadeu Chiarelli
Grantee:Eduardo Luis Araújo de Oliveira Batista
Host Institution: Escola de Comunicações e Artes (ECA). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):12/02843-2 - Descriptive art: origins and development, BE.EP.PD


The representation of tropical nature has occupied a central place in speeches on the characterization of Brazil throughout its history. The dissemination of the image of an exuberant nature and primitive paradise produced by the reports of Europeans that travelled to Brazil since the early sixteenth century created a descriptive tradition that has invaded Brazilian literature and visual arts. In this project we propose to analyze the development of this descriptive tradition in Brazilian visual arts by studying the work of four artists that produced at different periods: two foreigners, the Dutch Albert Eckhout and the Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Debret, and two Brazilians, the photographer Marc Ferrez and the painter Tarsila do Amaral. Having the works of these four artists as reference, we propose to identify the presence of a recurrent discourse of valuing natural landscape in the representation of Brazil which identifies the country with its nature. We propose to show how the descriptive tradition prevailed in Brazilian visual arts and literature as an index of originality in opposition to European cultural production. The descriptive tradition in Brazilian arts developed through the traffic of images of Brazilian nature and nation produced by foreign travellers and absorbed by Brazilian artists, configuring a process in which Brazilians looked for their own image in the reflection produced by the European mirror. We also propose to establish a dialogue between the visual arts and literature, demonstrating the preeminence of the descriptive representation of tropical nature in Brazilian cultural discourse during the period.

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