Wanderlino Arruda
Djalma Souto


The "Inconfident" Rebel Aleijadinho

I don't remember when I was at the Congonhas do Campo last, but I remember very well with what objective and with whom I went up and down old streets and hills peopled by magnificent statues, and other sculpted art of Aleijadinho. We know that sculpture work is his when you discerne a sculpted rose in the piece, It was his symbol.the symbol of his standing in the Rosacruz Masonry. I know that Manoel and Nair were cicerones and, as traveling companions, Olimpia, Joao Wlader, and also Danilo and Denilson, I think. It wasn't a large caravan, but being mixed together with other tourists, made for a lot of activity and good times. We visited Congonhas after passing through Ouro Preto and Mariana, all important historic cities. By this time I had long used up the meager two rolls of film that I had brought for my camera, because that I love to register my comings and goings through this huge and fascinating Brazil, my home. There I was, taking pictures of colonial houses, centenarian churches and kids.
It was in Congonhas, passing and passing again, by each and every one of the chapels, and touring the courtyard in front of the church of Bon Jesus de Matozinhos, seeing from the distance and up close, the incredible sculptures made by the lame hands of the greatest of all geniuses of Baroque art, that I could really feel the grandiose talent of Antonio Francisco Lisboa. I can't describe the feeling of ecstasy that I felt standing before works of art never before tried and never after repeated, with such true feeling and determination! How marvelous, that inventive, creative intelligence, how tremendously strong was the will to sculpt, a moment of faith and desire to be free. How wise is, the wheel of destiny in that puts together in the right places and times, the chisel of the noblest ideals!

Aleijadinho, Aleijadinho.How is it possible that only one man, isolated and alone, with his physical ugliness without hands or fingers, only mere stubs, cut the stone with so much knowledge and spiritual beauty? How could a man so untiring and restless so full of deficiencies be worth more than a multitude of other artists? Which invisible genius moved your arms, your stubs of hands, dear Aleijadinho? Could the presence of Gonzaga, of Marilia, of Claudio Manoel, of Heliodora and of Alvarenga, or of even his daughter in law, Joana, have been an incentive to his power of creation? Could it have been love, hate.or despair? What most profoundly marks his work? It seems, Aleijadinho, that in your frozen figures, you portray even now, the most horrible part of the human personality. In his work is shown the contrast of the serenity, beauty and confidence of Jesus, in which the harshness and cruelty of the torturers, symbol of all enemies of liberty of all ages. The contrasts that he made between good and evil existent in the abyss between good and evil.

Today, research tells us convincingly that you, Aleijadinho, wanted only to eternalize the perplexity of the revolutionary moment of the "Inconfidencia", being that you were also the principal revolutionary that dreamed of a free colonial Brazil. So it seems logical to us today, that in his superb set of statues of prophets at the church of Matozinhos, Ozeas is Alvarenga, Daniel is Gonzaga, Jonas is Tiradentes, Jeremy with boots and wearing a pony tail, is the colonel Francisco of Paulo Freire Andrade? How clear it is, Aleijadinho, that Amos, exhibiting Negro features and a barrette hat called a frijio, represents the Brazilian people and you as well. Well said Gilberto Freire, the great sociologist in an interview on television: Until today, Brazil has only had two genuine geniuses; one, in Minas Gerais, the Great Aleijadinho, and the other, in the northeast, namely he, himself.

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