Tarsila Do Amaral's Inventing Modern Art In Brazil

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I visited MoMA.org where Tarsila do Amaral’s Inventing Modern Art in Brazil was on display. Tarsila was born in Capivari, São Paulo, Brazil in 1886, and was the second of five children. Her father, José Estanislau do Amaral, was a wealthy plantation owner. During this period wealthy young ladies were not normally educated; however, Tarsila was encouraged by her family to educate herself. In 1900, when the family moved to Barcelona, Tarsila was enrolled in school where she impressed faculty by replicating images from the school’s collection. By the age of twenty, Tarsila was engrossed in her studies of art. At thirty years of age she was exposed to modernist art through the works of Anita Malfatti, Zadig, and Montavani. The next year…show more content…
At thirty-three Tarsila moved to Paris where she enrolled at Académie Julian, founded by painter and teacher Rodolphe Julian. It was during this time in which she was exposed to Cubism, Futurism, and Expressionism. Tarsila wanted to be known as a Brazilian artist so she delved deeply into her roots. After returning to Brazil she met some of the organizers of ‘Semana de Arte Moderna’, especially Anita Malfatti, Oswald de Andrade, Mário de Andrade, and Menotti Del Picchia. Subsequently, she was invited to join the movement and together they formed ‘Grupo dos Cinco’ or the ‘Group of Five’. The group’s main intention was to promote Brazilian culture through modern art, avoiding styles that were typically European. Instead, they tried to include elements indigenous to Brazil. Although Tarsila loved all types of art, she wanted to develop her own unique style. In 1923, she created her famous painting, ‘The Black Woman’ (A Negra). It was an exaggerated and flattened portrait of a nude Afro-Brazilian woman, set against a geometric background. It marked the beginning of her unique style, highlighting a synthesis of avant-garde aesthetics and Brazilian ethnicity. By 1930, she had become internationally famous and her works were being shown at exhibitions in…show more content…
A Negra, which means “The Black Woman,” painted in 1923, is an iconic work. It represents Tarsila’s growing recognition of the richness and diversity of her native country. This painting is thought to be based on a photograph of a servant she knew as a child. This painting made me laugh, it is a beautiful painting, but it reminded me of myself when I get home from work. In the painting the right breast hanging long, exaggerates a tired sense of being. Staying true to her roots, at the right, she inserts a diagonal green shape—the abstracted leaf of a banana tree, found everywhere in the Brazilian landscape.
A Cuca, which means “critter,” painted in 1924 is a complete stylization of the natural exuberant landscape. Tarsila explained to her daughter that “It is a strange animal in the forest with a frog, an armadillo, and an invented animal”. In this painting the leaves resemble hearts, and the painting almost feels cartoonish. The characters seem friendly, and calming. The painting seems fun, and playful. I can image this piece working perfectly in a child’s bedroom to calm their bedtime
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