Tarsila do Amaral, the Brazilian “anthropophagous” soul

Tarsila do Amaral, the Brazilian “anthropophagous” soul

In her country Tarsila do Amaral is known simply as Tarsila, the woman who led the modernist artistic movement in the 1920s. A true institution for Brazil so much that its most important picture, Abaporu, can be considered a sort of Mona Lisa of Brazil, an iconic and strongly representative picture.

His pictorial style is often referred to as anthropophagous (from “anthropophagous”, meaning “to feed on human flesh”). As outlined in the anthropophagous Manifesto, written by Tarsila’s husband, Oswald de Andrade, he advocated “cultural cannibalism”, a style of modern works that symbolically “consumed” and transformed European cultural standards.

Bare bodies, portrayed in abstract forms, paroxysmal, in dialogue with the surrounding nature, vivid colors: this is how his paintings appear. If “A Negra”, realized when Tarsila was still in France remembering a maid known during her childhood, “Abaporu” reimagines a bather through a Brazilian aesthetic vocabulary, “Anthropophagy” depicts the exuberance of the Brazilian landscape: two bodies stand out against the background of a tropical natural landscape, the sun is made in wedges, one of the two intertwined figures.

tarsila do amaral brasilian artist

Abaporu, 1928. Photo: © Tarsila do Amaral Licenciamentos

tarsila do amaral brasilian artist

Anthropophagy (Antropofagia), 1929. Photo: © Tarsila do Amaral Licenciamentos

tarsila do amaral brasilian artist

Postcard (Cartão-postal), 1929. Photo: © Tarsila do Amaral Licenciamentos

tarsila do amaral brasilian artist

A Negra, 1923. Photo: © Tarsila do Amaral Licenciamentos

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