Brodósqui, SP, 1903 – Rio de Janeiro, RJ, 1962
One of the most well-known contemporary Brazilian artists, Portinari made his name as a painter, muralist and illustrator after creating an image of the Brazilian worker and the country’s social situation, influenced by Renaissance Italian artists and Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). Graduated from Rio De Janeiro Fine Arts School, he soon became renowned as a skillful portrait painter and received many prizes in the beginning of his career, one of which was a trip to Paris, where he lived from 1929 to 1931.
In 1934, he produced his first social centered art works, including Despejados (Evicted) and adopted the mural as the ideal support to convey this issue. Between 1938 and 1944, he created a set of murals about the Brazilian economic cycles for the newly created Ministry of Education and Health - one of the landmark projects of the modern architecture and landscaping of Oscar Niemeyer, Lucio Costa and Robert Burle Marx. Between 1952 and 1956, he worked on the Guerra e Paz murals (War and Peace) for the United Nations headquarters in New York and, in 2012, these murals were displayed in a historical exhibition at the Latin America Memorial in São Paulo.