Brazil: Cultural Heritage
The Portuguese brought a love of music and art from their home country that has become a vital part of Brazilian life. As the colony grew into a nation, many Brazilians won fame in the arts.
Sculpture and Painting. One of the first well-known Brazilian artists was a sculptor of the 1700's, Antonio Francisco Lisboa, who was known as O Aleijadinho--"The Little Cripple." Aleijadinho had leprosy. When he could no longer use his hands, he had his tools strapped to his wrists so that he could go on sculpting. His most famous works are the statues of the twelve prophets on the steps of a church in Congonhas do Campo, a small town in Minas Gerais.
Brazilian painters only began to win worldwide fame in the 1900's. Among the best known are Emiliano di Cavalcanti, Lasar Segall, and Cândido Portinari, whose murals can be seen not only in Brazil but also at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and at the United Nations headquarters in New York City.
Architecture. In the field of architecture, too, Brazilians have won international fame. The dramatic capital city of Brasília is the work of Brazil's leading designers--the city planner Lúcio Costa, the architect Oscar Niemeyer, and the landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx.
Music and Dance. Brazilian dances and music, such as the samba, baião, bossa nova, and lambada, are known by millions all over the world. Several Brazilian musicians have won international fame. One is Antônio Carlos Gomes, a composer of the 1800's whose opera about a proud Indian is calledIl Guarany (1870). Heitor Villa-Lobos composed more than 2,000 works based on the folk music of the Brazilian Africans and pioneers. Guiomar Novaes was a noted pianist.
Literature. Brazil has produced many distinguished writers. Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis is considered one of the greatest South American writers. His portrayals of life in Rio de Janeiro during the early 1800's are found in Epitaph for a Small Winner (1881), Dom Casmurro (1900), and Quincas Borba (1891).
Euclides da Cunha is another of Brazil's better-known writers. His most famous book, Rebellion in the Backlands (1902), is an essay on people and the land in the Northeast. Distinguished Brazilian writers of the 1900's include the poets Carlos Drummond de Andrade, Manuel Bandeira, and novelists Jorge Amado, Guimarães Rosa, Graciliano Ramos, Erico Veríssimo, Rachel de Queiroz, and Nélida Piñón. The sociologist-historian Gilberto Freyre is well known in other countries. His classic works are The Masters and the Slaves (1933) and The Mansions and the Shanties (1936).