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Exploring the 12 Prophets of Aleijadinho: a 3D visit

Much is said of the scenic movement and position of Aleijadinho’s prophets in the churchyard of Congonhas. In the Middle Ages, they were arranged in general in the portals of neo-Romanesque and later Gothic cathedrals. They were sitting or standing next to the kings of Israel, gesturing with scrolls of the sacred scriptures and pointing their fingers to the believers to believe in their prophecies. In the Renaissance they were painted in the frescoes of the Sistine Chapelsmall religious building; ecclesiastical nomenclature; are also called chapels any churches that are not parish churches; enclosure of a church where is a particular altar. (1508-1512) in the Vatican, work of Michelangelo. The prophets are sitting to write, to reflect, and even to exhort the people to believe in the coming of the Messiah. 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 in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, in the Iberian world, they are in the paintings where several scenes unfold around them, according to the mythical facts they featured.

The staircase of Bom Jesus do Monte in Braga, Portugal, inspired Aleijadinho to place the prophets, who behave like heralds of the coming of Christ, by positioning themselves in the levels where the pilgrims rest from the sacrifice of climbing to the sacred mountain. The sculptures are arranged by hierarchy, major prophets and minor prophets, or by the similarity of their prophecies, and finally by plastic reasons according to their gestures.

The Aleijadinho’s innovation is that he gives a sense of movement in the plasticity of the churchyardusually closed courtyard in front or around the churches (Prophets of Congonhas and St. Francis of Ouro Preto)., which Robert Smith and Germain Bazin point as a framework that goes beyond the sculptural masses, coming to believe in a scenic area where a real ballet is developed between them. Thus is explained the poetic license of Aleijadinho that before being a Christian is an artist, and runs risks in the freedom of giving a meaning deeper than that just of representation. Therefore, each prophet is placed according to the other prophet, creating a spatial tension between them by their gestures, by the positioning of the feet, and the movement of their heads. Other critics understand dance as an expressive baroque form of that society, which is thus also accepted by Aleijadinho.

In the case of Congonhas, it is very important to link the gestures with the texts in the sacred scrolls, the phylacteries, which the prophets hold with the left hand. In addition to the reading already proposed in which the viewer moves frontally, laterally and surrounds the work, the observation can be deepened with the horizontal, vertical and sagittal views, leading the critic to understand the work in its entitrety, in the length and depth of each prophet. Therefore, the sculptures would move away or approach the viewer according to the concepts of spatiality that each one has in their culture – that is, approximation and expansion of the bodies and, here with the prophets, the points of each contained to the center, right or left. Hence, every prophet is potentially a point to be expanded from the gestural movements and the content of his words written on their phylacteries. Thus, each figure has its weight, space and time suggestion contained in those frozen movements. These theories were developed from the Rudolf Laban method and may be found in the book Profetas em movimento by Soraia Maria Silva.

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Exploring the 12 Prophets of Aleijadinho: a 3D visit

Exploring the 12 Prophets of Aleijadinho: a 3D visit

Download PDF

Exploring the 12 Prophets of Aleijadinho: a 3D visit

Download PDF BAZIN, Germain
Aleijadinho e a Escultura. Rio de Janeiro : Record, 1971.

 

 

 


COSTA, Lucio.
Antonio Francisco Lisboa, o Aleijadinho. in: O universo mágico do barroco brasileiro. Emanuel Araujo (org). São Paulo : SESI,1998.


OLIVEIRA, Myriam Andrade Ribeiro.
Aleijadinho : Passos e Profetas. Belo Horizonte: Editoras Itatiaia/EDUSP,1984.


MACHADO, Lourival G.
Barroco Mineiro. São Paulo : Perspectiva, 1973.


TAVEIRO, Celso.
O Aleijadinho em Congonhas: as hipóteses de Germain Bazin. in Barroco. Ouro Preto : UFMG, nº 13, 1985.


SILVA, Soraia Maria.
Profetas em movimento. São Paulo : Edusp/Imprensa Oficial, 2001.


SMITH, Robert.
Congonhas do Campo. Rio de Janeiro : AGIR, 1973,

 

Dictionaries

CHEVALIER, Heab e GHEERBRANT, Alain.
Dicionário de Simbolos. Rio de Janeiro : Ed. José Olympio, 1990.


JENNI, E. e C. WESTERMANN.
Diccionario Teológico Manual del Antiguo Testamento. Madrid : Ed. Cristandad, 1978.


SANCHÉZ, Tomás Parra. Dicionário da Bíblia.
Aparecida : Editora Santuário, 1997.