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Exploring the 12 Prophets of Aleijadinho: a 3D visit

In the Middle Ages, the figures of the prophets gained individualized spatiality, but remained profiled and joined into recognizable groups as witnesses that predicted the incarnation of Christ. They gained spaces in stained glass windows, richly adorned with colorful clothes and their words accompanied them on the tapes written. In the drawings of the capitulating of the incunabula – books written by hand on parchment – confirmed the importance of the written word. Sometimes they appeared in capitals with turbans on their heads, confused with the figures of astrologers, who read the mysteries contained in the seven circles of the celestial bodies. The distinction between astrologers and the prophets is in the use of instruments: measurement tolls by astrologers and writing tools by the prophets, sometimes coinciding in the garments, in the turbans, and in the looks to the heavens in search of truth. The inclusion of the Apostles in the iconography along with the prophets, who are easily distinguished by their attributessymbol, emblem or any element, in a sculpture, painting or engraving, used to identify particular saint (doors of the Franciscan and Carmelite churches with the scapular or stigmas)., happened in a curious manner because the prophets carried on their shoulders the apostles and evangelists of the New Testament.

An important historical factor for the prophets to stand out in medieval iconography was the loss of Jerusalem to Muslims, thus preventing the pilgrimage to the holy land. The figure of the Old Testament prophets was evoked along the whole waiting process and confirmation of the coming of Christ as man. Arranged in rows in the churchyardusually closed courtyard in front or around the churches (Prophets of Congonhas and St. Francis of Ouro Preto). and staircase of churches, they led the believer to cover a historical time, visible by means of the costumes, and spatial, symbolizing the journey of the people elected now as a Christian. The individuality of the figures made it possible to emphasize another physical aspect of the prophet: their movement in space, symbolized in the position of the feet and the footwear they use. In the doorways of Gothic cathedrals, they remained stiff, bastions of the truth contained in their words. In the Renaissance, confirmed 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, the walking (sometimes barefoot), the displacement coupled with vigorous drapingspainted or sculpted figures drapery with regard to wrinkles or curls of garments (in the prophets are comprised of long and short tunics and mantles that make up the volumetry in all faces). and movement of rhythmic gestures, throughout the body and with visual concentration in the facial expression. Thus the prophets are theatrically placed in the reconstructions of the mountain sanctuaries, such as in Congonhas, evoking the way of Christ for the redemption. The prophets are characters to be evoked in this process and must be characterized as being distant in time, builders of a prophetic Scripture becoming proud and major figures, well expressed in their clothing.

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