Home > B. The Living Artifact, Painting, Places > Albert Eckhout and Dutch Brazil

Albert Eckhout and Dutch Brazil

Readers may recall that RT was born in Brazil 50-odd years ago. He considered himself fairly conversant in Braziliana, at least in its 1950s and 1960s aspects, but confesses that he had never heard of Albert Eckhout when he stumbled on his work a few days back. Such things happen of course, especially when the painter in question lived hundreds of years ago, but RT was also ignorant of the fact that the Dutch established a colony in northeastern Brazil, New Holland, and held on to it for a couple of decades before being forced out by the Portuguese. The Dutch incursion might seem trivial, except that Brazil apparently owes the origin of its national consciousness to this struggle with a European competitor.

And then there is the question of Mr. Eckhout’s work; African Woman, to RT’s eye, anticipates the paintings of Henri Rousseau by several centuries. What an achievement…and if that were not enough, Mr. Eckhout has a minor planet named after him. But now we have entered the realm of true trivia.

Last but not least among RT’s recent discoveries concerning Latin America is the artistic movement known as Costumbrismo, which flourished during the 19th century. Hardly a minor movement, Costumbrismo counted adherents in every Latin American country and in Spain as well.

Who’d’a thunk it? RT is more than satisfied with the results of his latest wanderings…

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Painting: African Woman. Albert Eckhout (c. 1610–1665). WikiCmns. Public Domain.

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  1. August 12, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    This might be of interest to you: it investigates the voyages to “new” lands and the artwork the voyagers sent back to their mentors in Europe waiting for proof that there was something new and different waiting for them on the other side of the world.

    http://www.amazon.com/Unknown-Lands-Francois-Bellec/dp/1585672017

    It’s a beautiful book.

  2. August 13, 2015 at 9:22 pm

    aubrey: thanks for the suggestion; i’ll check it out, possibly even splurge on the book. RT

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