Friday, April 15, 2016

Brazil 2016
Diplomatic Relations: Brazil – France

ISSUE DATE: 25 February 2016
STAMP SIZE:44 x 26 mm
PHOTO: Dalila Santos

The fall of Napoleon provided the resumption of cultural ties between France and Portugal. At the invitation of the Portuguese court, the French Artistic Mission, a group of artists from France, docked in Rio de Janeiro on March 26th 1816, led by Joachim Lebreton (1760-1819), the former Secretary of the Institut de France. He was accompanied by the painter Debret (1768-1848), the landscape architect Nicolas Antoine Taunay (1755-1830), the architect Grandjean de Montigny (1776-1850) and other artists. The goal of the mission was to establish the first Art Academy in the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarve.

The group would revolutionize the arts at the tropical Court of Rio de Janeiro, taking advantage of the Crown’s desire to develop the arts and crafts in America, where the Royal family and an expressive part of the Portuguese nobility lived. The Royal School of Sciences, arts and crafts was created by Decree on August 12th 1816, but was effectively inaugurated on November 5th 1826, as the Imperial Academy and School of fine arts.
In the meantime, Joachim Lebreton laid down the principles and guidelines for the operation of the future Imperial Academy, but passed away in 1819 without seeing its implementation. The other French artists performed work for the Portuguese court, including the organization of the ceremonial arrival of Princess Leopoldina in 1817, the acclamation of D. João VI in 1818 and the crowning D. Pedro I in 1822.

Within the group it is distinguished the work of architect Grandjean de Montigny, responsible for various projects and public works such as the building of the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts and the Customs building (France-Brazil House, nowadays), and painter Jean Baptiste Debret, organizer of the first art exhibition in Brazil (1829).
Debret painted several portraits of the royal family, watercolors and drawings about the life of the city, replicating the activities of slaves, indigenous groups and also of facts regarding the Court’s life. He remained in Brazil for fifteen years. 

One of his best known works is the book “Picturesque and Historical Voyage to Brazil,” published in three volumes with a total of 150 illustrations where Debret depicts and describes the Brazilian society in the early 19th century. His work is, still today, a reference for studies about Brazil that time.

Historically, the French were the founders of the formal teaching of academic art as a style in Brazil, an art cultivated by the state and organized within strict methodological lines with their own themes, formal models, aptitude tests and awards system. The performance of the French also contributed to improving the status of the artist, assuming an attitude of free citizens, professionals, in a society en route to secularism. Its influence extends to sanitation and hygiene notions that would apply in the construction of buildings and modify urbanism of Brazilian cities, transforming the way of life in colonial Brazil.

With this issue, the Brazilian Post, through Philately, highlights an important historical event for the Brazilian cultural development, honoring the French contribution for this episode, emphasizing the friendship and cooperation that has always permeated the good relations between Brazil and France.

Stamp images and descriptio thanks to Correios

Brazil Post