by Francois Hagnere on 12/09/10 at 10:45 am
Discover the marvels of Brazilian Baroque Style where the angels have the features of Indians and altars exuberant décor.
In Latin America, the images of Saints, either painted or sculpted, were also displayed on the occasion of holidays or processions in addition to being displayed in the churches, among them: numerous representations of the founders of religious orders such as Ignatius of Loyola, who founded the Company of Jesus, or Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint-Patron and Father of the Franciscan Order. It is the quiet nobility of these figures among the ornamental frenzy which is the most touching. The angels have Indian features, the Saints and Prophets resemble peasants who suffer or Europeans. They have emaciated, grieved or sanctimoniously smiling faces. Jesus is represented as a man bowing under yoke. Some of these images became famous when one started granting them miraculous powers: for instance the “Black Christ” of the cathedral of Mexico or the painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which has its own chapel in the cathedral of Sucre in Bolivia. If these icons are well known, they are not unique, magnificent powers of healing were credited to many Saints and to the Holy Blessed Mary.
The structure of the very first Brazilian churches was simple. The Portuguese colons were used to earthquakes, so their edifices had neither domes nor towers. Furthermore, the local artists were not sufficiently trained and Portugal remained unaffected by her colony in the XVIth century. A voluptuous Rococo décor spread out in the coastal towns such as Recife, in the State of Pernambouc, located at the Easternmost end of the New World. The boats used to arrive here three weeks before they could reach Rio de Janeiro. Recife has 62 churches, most of them are Baroque masterpieces, like Sao Pedro dos Clérigos, with its high and narrow towers and its many windows.
Baroque and Rococo Styles expanded with the discovery of gold and diamonds mines during the XVIIth century. This reflected in the religious architecture of the region of Minas Gerais. The religious societies competed for the construction and ornamentation of churches. The church of Sao Francisco at Ouro Preto in the mining sector was built by Antonio Francisco Lisboa, also known as El Aleijadinho (the Little Crippled) who, as the Italian Baroque masters, was an architect and a sculptor. The decorated façade of the church is unusual because it shows round towers. Very few churches are vaulted for a lot of hard wood could be found in the region, local quartz was also used as an element of structure and décor. The most Baroque church of Brazil is the Basilica Bom Jesus de Matozinhos at Congohas do Campo, it is also the masterpiece of El Aleijadinho. The façade really has the high quality of the Early European Baroque Style. The graceful statues in front of the edifice form a unique theatrical scene.
Basilica Bom Jesus do Matozinhos at Congohas do Campo, Brazil.
Prophet Joel at Bom Jesus do Matozinhos.
Church of Sao Francisco at Ouro Petro, Brazil.
Church of San Antonio, Recife, Brazil.
Main altar of the Basilica of Nossa Senhora do Carmo, Recife, Brazil.
Painting in the Church of Sao Pedro dos Clérigos, Recife, Brazil.