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Volume 56 / Humanities


JOSE M. NEISTEIN, Executive Director, Brazilian-American Cultural Institute, Washington

THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF WORKS selected for this volume of the Handbook, some 80 percent, focus on the 20th century, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, architecture, photography, caricature, and comic strips. This focus reflects the predominant interest of scholars in modern Brazilian artistic expression. Nonetheless, among the reviewed items on other periods, some are remarkable and enlightening.

Among the theoretical and reference works, the study on Sergio Milliet, the seminal art critic, stands out (item bi 94015016). The monograph on Porto Alegre's statues is a pioneer in several ways (item bi 94015018), and the provocative essays by Ferreira Gullar are crisp and unsettling (item bi 94015020).

For the colonial period, the encompassing chronicle of the São Bento Monastery in Rio de Janeiro deserves attention (item bi 94014931). Rediscovered essays by Mário de Andrade on religious art in Brazil are perceptive both historically and aesthetically (item bi 94015025). The monograph on the contribution of the Jesuits to the colonial architecture of Rio de Janeiro greatly enriches the bibliography of that particular creative period in Brazilian architecture (item bi 94015000).

Attention is called to the 19th century thanks to the rich book on the Imperial Museum of Petrópolis (item bi 94014993) and several essays on architectural iron structures dating from the 1860s-1920s (item bi 94014983); otherwise the 19th century is not well represented.

The 20th century sparkles with a variety of subjects. The monographs on painter Guignard (item bi 94014987), sculptor Amilcar de Castro (item bi 94014968), and painter Cícero Dias (item bi 94014971) deserve special attention. Aracy Amaral's reappraisal of the "Week of Modern Art of 1922" broadens our critical views of that movement (item bi 94014934). Anésia Pacheco e Chaves' Cadernos are a stimulating contribution (item bi 94014956). The book on Krajcberg updates the topic of art and ecological preservation (item bi 94014951). The Washington, D.C. exhibition of Brazilian Women in the Arts and its catalog (item bi 94014946) were landmark productions. The study of rural native architecture resulted in a groundbreaking work (item bi 94014952). The Contemporary Art Museum of the University of São Paulo shows up as the sole iconographic memory of the São Paulo Biennial (item bi 94014965).

Elise Grunspan's exploration of photographic identity - as seen by both the photographed subject and the photographing power - takes an intellectually fresh, albeit disquieting sociological approach (item bi 94014940). Sebastião Salgado is by now an icon among photographers all over the world (item bi 94015001).

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