A Dialogue between Collections: National History Museum and Pinacoteca

6 Oct 2018 – 28 Jan 2019

Event times

Wednesdays through Mondays, 10 am to 5:30 pm – visitors are allowed to stay until 6 pm

Cost of entry


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Pinacoteca de São Paulo

São Paulo
São Paulo, Brazil

Event map

The exhibit features a selection of works from both museums, including rare to never-before-seen large canvas and paper paintings


The Pinacoteca of Sao Paulo will present, from October 6, 2018, through January 28, 2019, the exhibit A Dialogue between Collections: National History Museum and Pinacoteca of Sao Paulo, on the second floor of Pina Luz. Curated by Valéria Piccoli, chief curator of Pinacoteca, and Paulo Knauss, director of the National History Museum, located in Rio de Janeiro, the exhibit features select works from both museums, including rare to never-before-seen large canvas and paper paintings, as part of the program Pinacoteca designed to juxtapose and put a new interpretation on different museum collections.

The exhibit is structured following four main cores: Colonial Art, History Painting, War Landscapes, and Art and Heritage. Brought over from the National History Museum are works by Leandro Joaquim (1738-1798), Manoel de Araújo Porto-Alegre (1806-1879), and João Baptista da Costa (1865-1926), among other artists. Other highlights include pieces by Johann Moritz Rugendas (1802-1858), one of the most notable travelling artists to set foot in Brazil during the 19th century. In addition to a set of his drawings, the exhibit will feature a rare painting named Descobrimento da América, or The Discovery of America, (1820), as well as the passport Rugendas used to travel down to Brazil—a curious article of history that the capital city of Sao Paulo never had the opportunity to see before.

According to Knauss and Piccoli, another important set from the National History Museum are the watercolor paintings of José dos Reis Carvalho (1800-1872), who studied under Jean-Baptiste Debret at the Imperial Fine Arts Academy (Aiba), in Rio de Janeiro, and who joined along a scientific expedition put together by the Brazilian Institute of History and Geography into the northeastern region, between 1859 and 1861. “These vistas we’re presenting depict Ceara, a region that has little iconography available, especially dating from the 19th century,” says curator Valéria Piccoli.

One of the rarest pieces that will be displayed is a colonial-era portrait of Father Antonio Vieira, painted by Frei Agostinho de Jesus (1600-1661), which, Paulo Knauss notes, “is considered rare because it’s an antique and because only a few authentic paintings by Friar Jesus have been declared.” Piccoli adds that important historical paintings will be shown as well, such as a study of Coroação de D. Pedro II, or Coronation of Pedro II, (1840s), by Araújo Porto-Alegre, who has only a single work showing at Pinacoteca, painted while he lived in Paris perfecting his art, and the study Passagem do Chaco, or Chaco Pathway, (1870), by Pedro Américo (1843-1905), for the finished large canvas that is today part of the National History Museum’s collection.

Another first in this Pinacoteca exhibition, in addition to Rugendas’ passport, will be several of the paintings, combined with the three from the Pinacoteca collection, displayed in the Edoardo de Martino (1836-1912) room. This Italian artist, a painter for Queen Victoria and the English court, was commissioned to document the battles of the Paraguayan War (1864-70) and managed to masterfully reproduce the beautiful scenery of the region surrounding La Plata River. “Many of the pieces here, as is the case of Pinacoteca’s own Praia de Botafogo, are lit using moonlight, something that is very characteristic of his output,” Piccoli explains. To Knauss, naval battle paintings make up a genre audiences in São Paulo are still unfamiliar with: “The National History Museum is home to the largest collection of Martino paintings in Brazil. This will be a rare occasion they will be presented together.”

Both Piccoli and Knauss are of the opinion that the novel aspect of the exhibition lies, for the most part, in the fact that it introduces lesser-known genres of painting and in the way it sets up the works in relation to each other, rather than presenting them as individual pieces. In fact, a fair portion of the works from both collections were picked out due to their direct association with one another. One such example are the more civics-oriented sculptures of Rodolpho Bernardelli (1852-1931) held by the National History Museum, like the mockup model of the monument built for General Osório in the central region of Rio, and those of Baptista da Costa, whose work can be found at both Pinacoteca and the Rio National History Museum. Finally, the last room is dedicated to painting as a means to record historical heritage, bringing, as the finishing touch, both collections together.


This presentation of selected works from the National History Museum is part of Pinacoteca’s exhibit program called A Dialogue between Collections. Founded on the idea of juxtaposing Pinacoteca’s collection and items brought over from other institutions, the program serves not only to give improved and renewed interpretations to the museum’s own pieces, it also allows reflecting on institutional collections. Towards this end, Pinacoteca had exhibitions put on with works from Mariano Procopio Museum (Juiz de Fora, MG), USP’s Paulista Museum, and the Soares dos Reis National Museum (Porto, Portugal).


Friar Agostinho de Jesus, Pedro Américo, Rodolpho Bernardelli, Johann Moritz Rugendas, Aurélio de Figueiredo, Arnaud Julien Pallière, Gustavo Dall’Ara, Leandro Joaquim, Edoardo de Martino, José dos Reis Carvalho, Manoel de Araújo Porto-Alegre, Paulo Vergueiro Lopes de Leão, João Baptista da Costa, among others.


A Dialogue between Collections: National History Museum and Pinacoteca of Sao Paulo

Curated by Valéria Piccoli and Paulo Knauss

Opens: October 6, 2018, Saturday, at 11 am

Exhibition Dates: October 6 through January 28, 2019

Wednesdays through Mondays, 10 am to 5:30 pm – visitors are allowed to stay until 6 pm

Pinacoteca: Praça da Luz 2, São Paulo, SP

Fees: R$ 6.00 (admission); R$ 3.00 (student tickets)

Children 10 or under and 60 year-olds and up are allowed in for free.

Admission to Pina is free for all visitors on Saturdays.

Pina Estação is free every day.

Subscribers to Amigos da Pina have unlimited access and can enjoy discounts at the shop and café. They can also join in on guided tours and other events along with the Pinacoteca staff. To learn more about the program, go to: http://pinacoteca.org.br/apoie/amigos-da-pina/

What to expect? Toggle


Paulo Knauss

Valéria Piccoli

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Arnaud Julien Pallière

Paulo Vergueiro Lopes de Leão

José dos Reis Carvalho

Aurélio de Figueiredo

Leandro Joaquim

Rodolpho Bernardelli

Johann Moritz Rugendas

Edoardo de Martino

João Baptista da Costa

Pedro Américo

Manoel de Araújo Porto-Alegre

Gustavo Dall’Ara

Friar Agostinho de Jesus


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