In the last twenty years Brazilian figurative art has been increasingly becoming part of the modern technical, formal and spiritual experiences of Europe, and especially of the “school of Paris”, in an attempt to assimilate those suggestions and teachings that could stimulate the formation of a properly national art. The developments of the figurative culture were in fact determined by two factors operating in a more or less close concomitance: on the one hand the discovery of the Brazilian reality, landscape, life, humanity, feelings, conceptions, not without the exhumation of ethnographic contents; on the other hand, the discovery of the new European formulas in which painters have tried to insert a modern vision of Brazil. A part of the public, however, remains oriented towards the old academic and naturalistic production, which has now reached the most unbearable limits of conventionality and rhetoric. But the interest aroused by the new artists, and the esteem they enjoy even in the official spheres, lead us to believe that Brazilian figurative culture is able to assert itself not only as a polemical and informative datum, but also as a formative fact. Among painters, for example, an excellent action, in a revolutionary sense, has explained the art of Tarsila Do Amaral; born in São Paulo, educated in Paris, from 1920, and influenced by Léger, Gleizes, as well as the “customs officer” Rousseau. Other precursors are considered to be Anita Malfatti and the Russian-Brazilian Lazar Segall. L’ Segall’s influence in the discovery of typically Brazilian values was fundamental and the movement of the “school of Sao Paulo” arose around him. St. Paul is still today the living center of radiation of the most daring experiences. From San Paolo are Candido Portinari, the most famous of modern painters, and José Pancetti, born in 1902 to Italian parents, who re-elaborates particularly Cézannian post-impressionist conceptions in very personal ways. From Rio de Janeiro is Heitor Dos Prazeres, born in 1902, considered the “Rousseau customs officer” of Brazil. Del Pernambuco is Cicero Dias (born in 1907), who was influenced by the surrealists and other painters of the “school of Paris”, as well as by Picasso. From Rio is Alberto da Veiga Guignard (born in 1896), a vigorous landscape architect, who underwent the influence of expressionism. New forces are represented by Burle-Max (born in 1909 in San Paolo), Quirino da Silva (also from San Paolo), Urbano De Macedo (born in 1912 in San Paolo), Lucy Citti Ferreira (from San Paolo), Graciano Clovis (born in 1907 in São Paulo), Carlos Prado (born in 1908 in São Paulo). Other important figures are: Inez Correia Da Costa (born in 1907), Flavio De Carvalho (born in 1899 in Rio de Janeiro), Emiliano Di Cavalcanti (born in 1897 in Rio de Janeiro).
In the field of sculpture the results are lower than those achieved in painting. Alongside the various academicisms, alongside the cultured exhumations, perhaps inspired by the baroque deformations of an Aleijadinho, there are more modern attempts to insert Brazilian activity into the complex of modern cultural needs. For Brazil culture and traditions, please check calculatorinc.com.
The foundation, in 1928, of a Faculty of Philosophy in S. Paolo to which foreign professors (especially French and Italians) were widely called, gave a great impetus to scientific research. The following have acquired particular importance: the Institute of Physics where, thanks to the work of prof. Gleb Vattaghin and with the long collaboration of prof. Giuseppe Occhialini trained valiant physicists, some – such as Cesare Lattes – of international fame, and carried out considerable research, especially in the field of cosmic rays; the studies of mathematics and mechanics (first by the Italian professors Fantappiè and Albanese, and now by the Brazilian professor Mario Schönberg); those of genetics under the direction of prof. André Dreyfus.
In the Escola Livre de Sociology and Politics, founded in San Paolo in the same period, sociological and economic studies are cultivated with seriousness of research. In the field of social studies, a particular place belongs to Gilberto Freyre who, in his numerous works (main among these: Casa Grande and Senzala), came by studying the social conditions of Brazil in the colonial era, identifying its fundamental features. Sociological studies have had a natural impulse also through cultural contacts with North America; one of these scholars, Donald Pierson, has particularly examined the problem of Blacks in Brazil; Oliveira Viana the problems of the populations of southern Brazil. In the field of economic history Roberto Simonsen and Caio Prado have made contributions of high value with their economic histories of Brazil and their essays on the subject.