Candido Portinari

Brazilian painter of Italian descent. He was born at Brodósqui and studied at the National School of Fine Arts, Rio de Janeiro, 1918–21. In 1928 he was awarded a scholarship that took him to Europe for three years, 1928–31. Portinari is best known for his portrayals of Brazilian workers and peasants, but he dissociated himself from the revolutionary fervour of his Mexican contemporaries, and painted in a style that shows affinities with Picasso’s ‘Neoclassical’ works of the 1920s (which he saw in Paris during his scholarship years). In the 1940s his work acquired greater pathos and he also turned to biblical subjects, notably with a ceramic tile design on the life of St Francis of Assisi (1944) for the façade of the church of San Francisco at Pampulha, a suburb of Belo Horizonte. He gained an international reputation and his major commissions included murals for the Hispanic section of the Library of Congress in Washington (1942) and for the United Nations Building in New York (two panels representing War and Peace, 1953–5).

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