Americo de Figuereido e Melo, Pedro (1843–1905)

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Americo de Figuereido e Melo, Pedro (1843–1905)

Pedro Americo de Figuereido e Melo (b. 29 April 1843; d. 7 October 1905), Brazilian painter. Americo's artistic career began at a young age. At the age of nine he was chosen to accompany the naturalist Louis-Jacques Brunet on a scientific mission through Northeastern Brazil. Soon after his return from the expedition, he moved to Rio, and in 1855 enrolled in the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts. By 1858 his artistic capabilities had captured the attention of the Emperor Pedro II, who personally awarded him a European travel stipend. In Europe, Americo studied painting with such masters as Ingres and Horace Vernet. But his interests and talents extended beyond the fine arts. He wrote a criticism of Ernest Renan's Life of Jesus, for which he received a commendation from Pope Pius IX, and obtained a doctorate from the University of Brussels in natural science and applied physics. When he returned to Brazil in 1864, he wrote a novel entitled Holocausto. The same year he won the competition for professor of figure drawing at the academy.

Although Americo lived a good part of his adult life in Europe, he nevertheless left an important artistic legacy in Brazil. Alongside Vítor Meireles, Americo was instrumental in producing visual images that official institutions of the Second Empire sponsored and prized. His artistic repertory includes religious and allegorical compositions as well as court portraits and historical paintings. His most important historical paintings include two military paintings depicting battles from the War of the Triple Alliance, the 1872 Batalha de Campo Grande and the 1879 Batalha do Avaí, and his 1888 homage to Brazilian independence, Grito do Ipiranga.

See alsoArt: The Nineteenth Century .


Arte no Brasil, vol. 1 (1979), pp. 543-550.

Donato Mello Júnior, Pedro Americo de Figuereido e Melo, 1843–1905 (1983).

Caren Meghreblian, "Art, Politics, and Historical Perception in Imperial Brazil, 1854–1884" (Ph.D. diss., UCLA, 1990).

Additional Bibliography

Rosemberg, Liana Ruth Bergstein. Pedro Américo e o olhar oitocentista. Rio de Janerio: Produções Barroso Editoriais, 2002.

                                Caren A. Meghreblian

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Americo de Figuereido e Melo, Pedro (1843–1905)

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Americo de Figuereido e Melo, Pedro (1843–1905)