Almeida Junior Biography, Life, Interesting Facts
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Almeida Junior was also known as José Ferraz de Almeida Junior. He was the first artist to create Realistic portraits in Brazil during his era. His works of art have been treasured as the founder of contemporary art in the country. His paintings carry a close similarity to the workings of other rational artists from France namely, Gustave Courbet and Jean Francois Millet.
Almeida Junior chose to convey his art toward rural life although, in his time, his colleagues majorly illustrated on myths and chronological proceedings. Most of his paintings portray rural people taking part in their regular tasks. He also has portraits of deep feelings of yearning and misery. His art showed plentiful handiness because he had a sharp eye for flawlessness. He was a poor church bell-ringer, and none would have thought that he has such talent in art. All through his years in art,
Almeida Junior gained high-ceilinged respect. Many other painters copied his work in the decades to follow because he was the first in Brazil to try out the new venture. His paintings, however, have been labeled for their complex depiction of both art and emotion which makes it unfeasible to duplicate. On 8th May every year, Brazil remembers the endless work of the Almeida on his birthday. The day is named ‘Fine Arts Day’ also called ‘Dia do ArtistaPlastico.'
Almeida Junior was born on the 8th of May, 1850 in the little municipality of Itu in Brazil. His father was Miguel Correa P, and he was a pastor at the Our Lady of Candelaria Church.Therefore, Almeida grew up in a religious home held by high spiritual values. In his young days, he served as the bell ringer in the church where his father led.
He spent his time creating portraits when not helping with the daily chores. Many of his artwork had religious titles for example; ‘The Apostle St. Paul’ in 1869 and his paintings were used as decor in his father’s church. His father was so pleased with his ability. He went ahead to organize a fundraising event to enable him to undertake formal art education. The money raised from the fundraising would give his son enough finance to learn art in Rio de Janerio.
The event was successful, and His father was able to collect adequate funds. At the age of 19, Almeida Junior set out to Rio de Janerio, where he joined the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts to receive his education. He was taught by Victor Meirelles, Jules Chevrel, and Pedro Americo, at the art institute. His teachers were real artists and well-known dons of their era.
Moreover, he went through a standard course of study at the institution that took over two years of essential drawing classes, and after that, he learned to paint. He trained in arithmetical and metaphorical drawings, past paintings, structure, life drawing, practical mathematics, aesthetics and functioning of passions at the Academy.
Almeida Junior was a well-liked student at the college; his work was so thorough that he got a lot of acknowledgment for his sacred, chronological and existing representation paintings. Additionally, he went back to Itu after clearing his education. He opened a studio upon his return home where he made portraits and also gave drawing lessons.
Early career beginnings
In1876, Almeida Junior was fortunate when Emperor Pedro II visited Sao Paulo and saw his painting. The ruler had a profound appreciation for Almeida’s paintings thus he went ahead to sponsor his additional studies in Europe. He attended drawing lessons in Paris in 1877. With the decree of the Emperor, he was given 300 francs every month; considering that workers got a salary of 5 francs in a week, this was a lot of money.
In 1878, he accepted to join ‘EcoleNationaleSuperieure des Beaux’ In Paris, where he studied anatomical drawings for three years being tutored by the legendary AlexandreCabanel.In 1879, he enrolled at ‘Salon Officiel des Artistes Francais' where he painted artworks during the subsequent three years. Between 1879 and 1882 he also made exceptional masterpieces. They were, ‘Brazilian and remorse of Judas’ of 1880, ‘Flight into Egypt’ of 1881 and ‘The Rest of the Model’ of 1882.
Almeida Junior went back to Brazil after 1882 from Paris. He then exhibited his paintings at the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts which was his first institute. He put up a studio where he trained upcoming artists at Sao Paulo. Most of his students have made permanent marks in the art world. Almeida went ahead to create Brazilian painting as he was infusing his infatuation on subjects such as local arts and Republican upper class.
In 1884, he prized knighthood after his presentation ‘Exposição Geral de Belas Artes’ this was his greatest honor.As the years passed, he steadily moved from a variety sacred and momentous paintings to rural pictures which slowly gained tempo with naturalism which in his later years came to influence pieces like the ‘Stinging Smoke Grit’ of 1893, the ‘Interrupted’ of 1894 and the ‘Guitarist’ of 1899.
Almeida Junior painted people going about ordinary lives. His way of painting brought about a more relatable portrayal of the rural beauty which was not common in the educational pictures during his time. His art portrayed simplicity and avoided exploring lavishness.
Some of his major works included the ‘A Boy’ of 1882, ‘Baptism of Christ’ of 1885, and ‘Caipiras Negaceando’ of 1888. Others include; ‘Crucified Christ’ of 1889, ‘Leitura’ of 1892, ‘The Inopportune’ of 1898, and ‘Saudade’ of 1899.
Awards & Achievements
During his senior year at Imperial Academy in 1874, Almeida Junior gained a prize of a gold medal for his picture of the ‘Resurrection of the Lord’. Additionally, he earned the title of the knight of the rose in 1884 awarded by the Imperial Government. Remarkably, he got his last gold medal in 1898. Imperial Academy also granted the medal. His impressive painting themed ‘Departure of the monsoon' is applauded by many critics of art to date.
Personal Life & Legacy
Almeida Junior had a lasting relationship with Maria Laura, his cousin. However, Maria was José de Almeida Sampaio’s wife. Maria and Almeida parted ways although they were once engaged. Maria went ahead to marry Almeida’s cousin although she continued her relationship with Almeida.
After some time, Sampaio came to learn about their affair. He became furious that he stabbed Almedia to death on the 13th of November 1899. His painting ‘The Guitar Player’ that he had cleared a few days before his death was his last. Brazil lost its ‘national painter, ’ and the world felt the enormous loss of an excellent artist.
His work of art drew a line of the evolution of conventional Brazilian art to modernization. His art made use of the skills he had acquired in several universities, although it went against the traditional paintings of his time. Up to date, Almeida Junior is predominant in the memories of the nationals of Brazil. The Day of Fine Artist happens on his birthday upon which he is recognized and celebrated. There are also exhibitions which commemorate his contribution to fine art.