There are several different manner in which an artwork or even a set of works such as the prophets of Aleijadinho, in Congonhas, can be read. The first is the iconographic one, i.e., the knowledge obtained through readings such as the history of the set and its reference in Portugal and worldwide. Adding up to this, the knowledge of each prophet and how Aleijadinho carved them according to references of earlier artists, placing each one with a different kind of turban, or even a formal way to put the prophetic words.
Another level is the one in which the art critic approaches the works, conducting formal readings of how the gestures and fabrics are more restricted by or free from the sculptural masses and the way the feet and faces are positioned, now looking at the believer, sometimes with eyes dazzled by the visions contained in the words. These are called iconographic readings, and refer to how, throughout the ages, the art formulated a way for each prophets or saint or even gods of mythology to be recognized. Further, it is possible to get a deeper reading, the iconological one, i.e., what is the intention of the artist when making that work. In the Baroqueartistic style of the seventeenth century and part of the eighteenth, during the Protestant Reformation against the Catholic reform and the absolutist policy; stylistically it is associated with forms in movement, dramatic expressions, intense color, shadows and lights. period it was necessary to follow the iconographic standards so that the figures were venerated and recognized by all. However, the artist can put part of his intentions in the work, which will be studied in later times. In this case, researcher Isolde Helena Brans Venturelli wrote Profetas ou conjurados, a study that compared the sculptures of the Prophets with the inconfidentes. Thus, the author updates the work of Aleijadinho when she approaches his art to historical events that occurred at the time of mining, displacing them from the old world to that of today. The reading is relevant because each work of art may be updated and for this reason art is so intriguing.
The author thus relates the prophets with the Inconfidentes, giving to each one a characteristic or evidence that lead us to such an interpretation.
Jonah – Joaquim da Silva Xavier, o Tiradentes.
Jeremiah – Francisco de Paula Freire Andrade.
Obadiah – José Álvares Maciel.
Habakkuk – Domingos Vidal Barbosa.
Nahum – Francisco Antônio de Oliveira Lopes.
Ezekiel – Luis Vaz de Toledo Piza.
Baruch – Salvador Carvalho do Amaral Gurgel.
Daniel – Tomás de Antônio Gonzaga.
Hosea – Inácio José de Alvarenga.
Joel – Cláudio Manuel da Costa.
Isaiah – the undercover.