ABAPORU – I AM THE (under)WORLD !

ABAPORU – “the man that eats people” is an oil painting on canvas by the Brazilian painter Tarsila do Amaral, executed in 1928 as a birthday present to the writer Oswald de Andrade, her husband at the time. It is considered the most valuable painting by a Brazilian artist, having reached the value up of $5.4 million. The composition: one man, the sun and a cactus – inspired Oswald de Andrade to write the Anthropophagite Manifesto and consequently create Anthropophagic Movement, intended to “swallow” European culture and turn it into something culturally very Brazilian. Yes, swallow! Tarsila described the subject of the painting as “a monstrous solitary figure, enormous feet, sitting on a green plain, the hand supporting the featherweight minuscule head. In front a cactus exploding in an absurd flower.” This “monstrous” figure is, in fact, human. An unadorned, undressed, sexless, and ageless human whose anatomy has been distorted. The background of the painting suggests a natural setting. Here, earth is depicted as a simple small green mound upon which the subject sits. The vegetation is represented by a cactus at the right of the figure and a golden sun or flower which crowns the composition. The sky is a plain pale blue background.This painting – amongst so many others (like Picasso’s “Guernica” and Duchamp’s “The Bride Stripped Bare by the Bachelors, Even” – was enormously influential in my early days as a painter. #abaporu #tarsila #tarsiladoamaral #modernism #semanade22 #oswalddeandrade #antropofagia #geraldthomas1

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