Great Brazilian artist, a pioneer of national caricature and a successful diplomat in the service of the emperor.
Manuel José de Araújo Porto-Alegre (November 29, 1806 – December 30, 1879) was a famous Brazilian artist of the 19th century, a prominent representative of romanticism. He was an outstanding artist of his era, in addition to painting, he achieved significant success in dramaturgy, literature and architecture, and is also rightfully considered one of the pioneers of national caricature. Most of the paintings and other masterpieces of the master’s artistic creativity are wounded in the museums of Brazil.
Manuel José de Araujo Porto Alegre also made a huge contribution to the development of Brazilian diplomacy. He devoted almost twenty years to public service and served as consul in the representations of his native country in Berlin, Dresden and Lisbon.
Biography of Manuel José de Araujo Porto Alegre
Manuel José de Araujo was born on November 29, 1806 into a wealthy aristocratic family in the city of Rio Pardo. The boy was fond of drawing since childhood. After graduating from high school, he was accepted into the Imperial Academy of Arts in Rio de Janeiro, in the class of the French master of painting Jean-Baptiste Debray.
While still a first-year student, Manuel painted a portrait of the Brazilian Emperor Pedro I, and this work brought the 17-year-old boy widely known in his homeland. After studying for five years at the academy, the young man added the prefix Porto Alegre to his real name de Araujo and left with his mentor for Europe.
Thanks to the patronage of Debra Manuel, he entered the Higher School of Fine Arts in the capital of France without any problems, studied there for three years, and then went on a trip to the countries of the Old World. The young artist visited different regions of the Italian Republic, visited England, the Netherlands and Belgium, after which he returned to Brazil.
Immediately after arriving in Rio de Janeiro, 27-year-old Manuel was offered the position of head of a department at the Academy of Arts. He took up teaching with great enthusiasm. Then the master created his first caricatures, wrote several theatrical plays and published a collection of poems.
In 1838, Manuel José de Araujo married Palina Delamare, with whom he lived happily in marriage until the end of his days. His wife gave him two children – daughter Carlotta and son Paulo, who later became a prominent Brazilian diplomat.
In 1840, the emperor appointed the master as a court painter and instructed to completely redo the interior of his official residence. With this task, de Araujo coped brilliantly, and at the same time he developed several architectural projects for the Brazilian capital, including the building of the Banco do Brasil headquarters, the medical academy and customs. Surprisingly, this man managed to do many important things at the same time. He created paintings and cartoons, wrote novels and plays, taught at the academy, and served as editor-in-chief of a magazine.
In 1854, the respected artist was appointed director of the National Academy of Arts, but he served in this position for only three years. Soon Manuel was offered a job in the diplomatic field, and he accepted without hesitation.
De Araujo left for Europe, where he lived until his death.
He alternately held the position of consul in three cities: Berlin (since 1857), Dresden (since 1860) and Lisbon (since 1866). And in 1874, the Brazilian Emperor Pedro II, for outstanding services to the country, awarded the famous artist and diplomat a baronial title.
Manuel José de Araújo of Porto Alegre died on December 30, 1879 in Lisbon at the age of 73 and his body was interred in the local cemetery. Only in 1922, the remains of the brilliant Brazilian were transported to their homeland and reburied with great honors in Rio Pardo.