"Aleijadinho - Brazil's Greatest Baroque Artist" Top 5 Page for this destination Ouro Prêto Favorite Tip by mircaskirca
Ouro Prêto Favorites: 15 reviews and 17 photos
Favorite thing: Antonio Francisco Lisboa (1730 - 1814), known as Aleijadinho (Portuguese for 'Little Cripple), is Brazil's greatest baroque artist - architect, painter and sculptor - before modern times. He was born in Ouro Preto, the son of the Portuguese craftsman Manuel Francisco Lisboa and a black slave Isabel.
Growing up around the tools, artists, and architectural circles of the day, antonio also studied religion, music and Latin, all of which would find their way into his works. His racial mix excluded him not only from certain social circles but also from official recognition as a master architect and sculptor.
Around the age of 40, Aleijadinho began to suffer from a debilitating, crippling disease which grew progressively worse. He eventually lost his fingers and toes, and the use of his lower legs. Despite his physical disabilities, he was a prolific artist who created Brazil's best baroque art, known as 'Barroco Mineiro' - a distincitve art form that developed in Minas Gerais in the 18th century. This incredibly talented self-taught artist incorporated the European Baroque and Rococo traditions into his own work, with hints of the classic and gothic, and he used only native materials, like soapstone and wood.
His masterpieces are Igreja de Sao Francisco de Assis (built in 1766) in Ouro Preto, Igreja de Sao Francisco de Assis (1774) in Sao Joao del Rei and the majestic statues of the Twelve Prophets (1800 - 1805), which are symmetrically arranged on the steps and terraces leading up to the Basilica do Bom Jesus do Matozinho in Congonhas.
Fondest memory: Myth or Reality?
Because of the mysterious lack of documentation showing his participation in the works of the day and strange alterations in his birth and death records, some believe he never existed (or was nothing more than an assistant his entire life) and that a hundreds of works attributed to Aleijadinho were in fact produced by various talented artists. These disbelievers also find it incredible that a man inflicted with such a crippling disease could have been responsible for so many works attributed to him.
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