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Amy J. Buono

Born around 1780 in Rio de Janeiro, Amaral was best known as an artist employed by the Luso-Brazilian Court in Rio. Details of Amaral’s early life and training are scant, including his parentage, but he lived and worked in Rio, where he studied under the artist José Leandro de Carvalho (c. 1770–1834). Amaral continued his studies at the officially sanctioned course of painting and drawing in Rio created by the Marquis of Aguiar (Fernando José de Portugal e Castro, viceroy between 1801 and 1806 The school was administered by the painter Manuel da Costa de Oliveira with whom Amaral studied stage design He also worked as the assistant of José Leandro at the São João Theater Amaral s talents were quickly recognized and he was summoned to do decorative work for the court leaving the theater behind Amaral s oeuvre is especially noteworthy in that it bridged the ...

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Lydia Milagros González García

was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on 23 December 1751 to Tomás de Rivafrecha y Campeche, a painter, decorator, and gilder, and María Jordán y Marqués, a free white woman. Tomás was a black man and former slave who had purchased his freedom from his slaveowner, Cathedral Canon Don Juan de Rivafrecha. It has been assumed that José dispensed with the name Rivafrecha to be rid of the name of his father’s master and to accentuate his birth as a freeman. In historical documents, Campeche, a mulatto, was referred to as a pardo, a designation based on skin color and birth used in the Spanish casta system José s paternal ancestors black slaves have been traced back three generations but little is known of his mother s family except that she probably came from a family of artists and craftspeople from Tenerife in the Canary Islands located ...

Article

Carlos Dalmau

Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Campeche was the son of a free black father and a Spanish-born mother. Campeche started drawing at an early age, influenced by his father, who was an artisan. He later had contact with the Spanish painter Luis Paret, who was exiled for three years (1775–1778) in Puerto Rico. Paret, a more experienced and formally trained painter, greatly influenced the style of the gifted Campeche.

Campeche is best known for his paintings of religious images and political figures. Among his works we find some of the first artistic representations of blacks in colonial slave society: the Exvoto de la Sagrada Familia (around 1800, Institute of Puerto Rican Culture Collection) and the street scene in Gobernador Ustariz (1789–1792, Institute of Puerto Rican Culture Collection). Another example is the artist's lost Self-Portrait that survives in two copies done by Ramón ...

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Matthew Francis Rarey

was born into slavery in Rio de Janeiro, in the Portuguese colony of Brazil. At the time of Cunha’s birth, his mother, an enslaved woman of African descent, was working for the family of the Januário da Cunha Barbosa, a conêgo (canon priest). Manuel was given the priest’s surname. Cunha showed a talent for painting from an early age and, despite his enslaved status, began to study with João de Sousa (fl. eighteenth century), an established religious painter in colonial Rio. While Cunha was his student, Sousa likely also taught Leandro Joaquim (c. 1738–c. 1798), a mulatto painter also active in Rio. Sousa’s mastery of Brazilian baroque painting and many commissions for the city’s churches and religious orders helped to influence Cunha’s style and likely helped to expand Cunha’s professional connections.

In 1757 likely under Sousa s tutelage Cunha completed his most famous work a half length portrait of ...

Article

was born in Havana, Cuba, on 15 September 1734. Escalera may have been among the many freemen of African descent in Havana toward the end of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries who had come to dominate the trades in the city, such as blacksmithing, carpentry, painting, and sculpture. Some documents found in the archives of the Havana Cathedral hold Escalera to be an español (a man of Spanish descent) born to parents who were Cuban and Spanish whites. Aside from these few and inconclusive details regarding his racial identity, we know very little about his personal life.

Escalera is the first prolific Cuban colonial painter whom we know by name. He made his career amid commercial growth in the eighteenth-century Atlantic world and within the Spanish Empire, boosted by the reformist agendas of Charles III that followed the Seven Years’ War in 1763 Bureaucratic and military reforms ...

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Natalia Majluf

was born in Lima, Peru, in September 1785. He was the son of Francisco Carvajal Castro and María Leocadia Morales, freed slaves from the northern city of Trujillo who had settled in Lima. His elder brother Juan José had been born into slavery in 1776, at a time when his mother had not yet bought her freedom, and was to also marry a slave in 1799. Gil de Castro’s choice of profession and his social aspirations—evident in the extended signatures with which he inscribed his paintings—point to a persistent effort to transcend his family origins.

His biography must be largely traced through the evidence offered by his paintings, as contemporary references are extremely scarce. Little is thus known of his training, though the stylistic affinity of his early works with the paintings of Pedro Díaz (fl. 1770–1815 suggests that he may have practiced as an apprentice ...

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See also Art in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Article

Matthew Francis Rarey

was born in Salvador da Bahia, then capital of the Portuguese colony of Brazil, to António Feliciano Borges and Josefa de Santana. A pardo described as forro (freed), Jesus began his artistic career in the third quarter of the eighteenth century, a period of high artistic output for Bahia’s many artists of color, such as Francisco das Chagas (fl. eighteenth century). Early in his life, Jesus began studying with noted Bahian painter José Joaquim da Rocha (1737–1807) and worked as a painter’s assistant and gilder on a number of Rocha’s projects in Salvador.

In 1788 Jesus entered military service with Salvador s Fourth Artillery Regiment Later Rocha paid for Jesus to study painting at the Escola das Belas Artes School of Fine Arts in Lisbon To supplement Rocha s offer Jesus took out a loan from Salvador s Santa Casa de Misericórdia Holy House of Mercy a ...

Article

Amy J. Buono

was born around 1738 in Rio de Janeiro. Historians and critics consider Joaquim to be one of the most important and innovative artists working in late-colonial Rio, largely because of his secular subject matter, colorful palette, and pioneering role in a “native” representation of the Brazilian landscape. Although details of his early life, including his birth date and parentage are obscure, the first clue as to his Afro-descent comes from nineteenth-century historian Cunha Barbosa (Leite, 2010, p. 373). Until his death in his eighties, Joaquim lived and worked in his native Rio. He trained under the artist João de Sousa and was a member of the Fluminense School of painting, the name given to the most prominent group of artists active in Rio de Janeiro during the eighteenth century.

Joaquim s artistic production coincided with a shift of the center of Brazil s economic political and cultural political ...

Article

Mónica Domínguez Torres

who worked in the captaincy of São Paulo, Brazil, in the late colonial period, was born on 25 March 1764 in Santos, São Paulo. Jesuíno Francisco de Paula Gusmão was the illegitimate son of a poor mulatta named Domingas Inácia de Gusmão. Domingas Inácia was a grand niece of Bartolomeu Lourenço de Gusmão (1685–1724), a Brazilian Jesuit priest popularly known as “Padre Voador” (The Flying Priest) because of his scientific work on airship design. Most likely Jesuíno received some religious, musical, and artistic training under the care of the Carmelite friars of his hometown before he moved to the town of Itu in 1781. There he worked as an assistant to the painter José Patrício da Silva Manso (c. 1753–1801), also a mulatto, during the construction of the Igreja Matriz da Nossa Senhora de Candelária (Mother Church of Our Lady of Candlemas).

In 1784 Jesuíno ...

Article

trained in Europe and active in Rio de Janeiro, who cultivated prominent private, religious, and royal benefactors and patrons, was born in 1763 in Santana de Macacu (today’s Cachoeiras de Macacu), in the rural interior of the Rio de Janeiro captaincy of Brazil. His parentage is obscure, but there is some evidence to suggest that he or a parent had once been enslaved. Although the longevity of his career makes it difficult to ascribe one single style, Oliveira is generally considered to be an important figure in the Escola Fluminense, an informal grouping of artists and artisans—including many freeborn or freedmen of color—active around Rio de Janeiro during the transition from colonial rule to independence in Portuguese America.

Resettled in Rio city elevated to the capital of colonial Brazil the same year as the artist s birth Oliveira worked as a goldsmith and draughtsman With the help of a Portuguese ...