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Archaeology of a discipline: on the first professorship of History of Fine Arts, Aesthetics and Archaeology of the Americas (1855-1870).

Grant number: 17/03741-2
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2017
Effective date (End): March 27, 2021
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Arts - Plastic Arts
Principal Investigator:Luciano Migliaccio
Grantee:Fabio D'Almeida Lima Maciel
Host Institution: Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo (FAU). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):18/01351-5 - On the first professorship of history of fine arts, aesthetics and archaeology of the Americas and its transfers with Europe, BE.EP.PD


In this research, we propose to organize, transcript and study the material concerning the first chair of art history, aesthetics and archaeology ever opened in the Americas. This chair was created in 1855, at the Academia Imperial de Belas Artes do Rio de Janeiro ('Imperial Academy of Fine Arts of Rio de Janeiro'), but its first lesson would be given only in 1870, by the painter and philosopher Pedro Américo de Figueiredo e Mello (1840-1905). The material concerning this chair is composed nearly by 65 full pages that represent the opening lecture and further lessons. In addition to theses pages, we are interested in examining two supporting texts that were results of scientific educations pursued by Américo in Europe during the 1860s. The opening of the chair in the AIBA had a programmatic purpose, similar to many other chairs created in Academies of Arts in Europe, specially the course of aesthetics and art history created in 1864 in the École des Beaux-Arts de Paris (symptomatically the same moment when Américo frequented this institution). It tried to converge the results of new investigations in archaeology and history to a philosophical basis, in which the aesthetics would stand as an area of inflexion. Its main goals were to teach the students the "laws of beauty", presuming the importance of theoretical learning to artistic and industrial activities.We intend to investigate not only the unknown lessons undertaken in this chair through an transnational perspective, but also to provide the first clues to understand the unexplored passage of a model of free artistic discourses that had remained in the Academy until the 1860s, to another one inscribed in an institutionalized teaching program. Likewise, we are interested in comprehending this last model face to the emergence of the first historical and critical texts on art written by personalities who not only didn't have any formal relations with the AIBA or with the Brazilian government, but who had presented themselves against the official aesthetics then diffused in that institution. (AU)

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