The famous Brazilian painter and decorator, Rodolfo Amoedo was one of the key heads responsible for the rebirth of teaching and academic aesthetics at the National School of Fine Arts (Enba). Though Amoedo was a staunch traditionalist in his style, he contributed significantly to step up academic art to new artistic trends, that marked the end of Neoclassical and Romantic movements that dominated Brazil until then. Often deemed as an ambiguous artist, he was someone who was both innovative, at the same time, fiercely defensive about old standards. During his lifetime, he was intensely influenced by the lectures of Alexandre Cabanel (1823 - 1889), Paul Baudry (1828 - 1886) and Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (1824 - 1898), all of whom inspired him to use discreet colors to come up with meticulous and objective drawing. Rodolfo Amoedo attempted to eliminate the ideal trappings and painted based on the theme of traditional academics.
Rodolfo Amoedo’s Childhood And Early Life
All the origins of Rodolfo Amoedo are vague, dome people trace his place of birth to Salvador, while some claim that the legendary painter was born on the soil of Rio de Janeiro. However, there are enough evidences to affirm that the painter spent a good part of his childhood in Salvador. According to the records by art historian, Quirino Campofiorito, Amoedo’s parents were actors and he had a frugal upbringing, as much of his early life was plagued with pecuniary difficulties. He moved to Rio de Janeiro in the year 1868 at the age of 11 to study in Pedro II College, but had to quit his studies in between owing to lack of funds. Later, he enrolled in Arts and Crafts School at the age of 16, where he had the fortune to be mentored by Antonio de Souza Lobo, Victor Meirelles, Zeferino da Costa, Agostinho da Motta and Chaves Pinheiro.
Rodolfo Amoedo flagged off his artistic career under the tutelage of Victor Meirelles in 1873. He got his first big break when he won Aiba’s foreign travel prize for his painting “The Sacrifice of Abel” at the Brazilian Academy in 1878. He went in Paris 1879 and enrolled in Ecole National des Beaux-Arts to study art and painting. He also had the good fortune to be the mentee of Alexander Cabanel and got a chance to work under Paul-Jacques-Aime Baudry as well. There he mastered the knowledge of using discreet colors to make meticulous artworks. Some of his important works on indigenous themes are ‘Marabá’ (1882) and ‘The Last Tamoyo’ (1883). His creative genius can be well-percieved in his works like ‘Sulking Woman’ (1882) and ‘Woman’s Back’ (1881). He also painted several biblical scenes such as ‘The Departure of Jacob’ (1884) and ‘Jesus in Capernaum’ (1885). Rodolfo Amoedo renamed the School of Fine Arts as Escola Nacional de Belas Artes during downfall of the Brazilian Empire. He worked as a professor of painting at Aiba in 1887, after which he also became the director of the Brazilian Academy.
Death And Legacy
Rodolfo Amoedo passed away on 31 May 1941 in Rio de Janeiro and was forgotten. His widow, was thus left, in the throes of poverty. Hence, his friends helped the poor widow to pay for the funerals. However, the greatness of this painter can be estimated from the fact that his paintings still adorn the walls of the National Museum Museu Nacional de Belas Artes in Rio de Janeiro.
- Abel’s Offering (1878), art
- Maraba (1882)
- The Last Tamoyo (Ultimo Tamoio), 1883
- Sulking Woman (Amuada), 1882
- Female Study (Estudo de Mulher), 1884
- The Departure Of Jacob (A Partida de Jaco), 1884
- Jesus In Capernaum (Jesus emKafarnaum), 1885
Awards And Achievements
In the year 1878, Rodolfo Amoedo bagged the first prize at the Brazilian Academy. He was awarded Aiba’s foreign travel prize for ‘Sacrificio de Abel’ (The Sacrifice of Abel) that gave him a chance to travel to Paris during 1879-1887.