A “great priest of civilization”: Reinterpreting Victor Meirelles’ A Primeira Missa through newspapers

Loading...
Thumbnail Image
Date
2020-09-05
Open Access Location
DOI
10.25160/bjbs.v9i1.120083
Editors
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
King's College London
Abstract
Using newspapers as primary sources, this article presents an innovative analysis of Victor Meirelles’ A primeira missa no Brasil (1860). Beyond canonical interpretations of Meirelles’ work as an erudite depiction of the beginning of Brazil’s history in 1500, the article demonstrates that for viewers of that time the painting also, and above all,represented the beginning of the history of Brazilian art in the 1800s. It demonstrates this by following general art debates in newspapers of the period, specifically in the years before and after the highly anticipated return of the young Meirelles fromhis European sabbatical. Debates in the press illustrate how Meirelles’ significance for nineteenth-century audiences in particular, and for Brazilian art history as whole, can only be fully decoded by situating the artist within Brazilian elites’ political-intellectual efforts to achieve European-style civilisational progress during the first decades of the post-independence period.
Description
Keywords
Citation
Brasiliana : Journal for Brazilian Studies, 2020, 2020, 9 (1), pp. 194 - 215
URI
Collections