Missão francesa - André Penteado
Title: Missão francesa.
Publisher: Editora Madalena.
Author: André Penteado.
City of publication: São Paulo.
Year of publication: 2016.
Availability: In stock
After the success of Cabanagem (featured in numerous lists as one of the best photobooks of 2015), Missão Francesa is the second book of André Penteado’s project Rastros, traços e vestígios.
In this project, André uses photography to explore historical events which took place in Brazil before the invention of photography, seeking to create images that help reflect on the impact they had on the national spirit.
To this end, he photographs the places where these events took place and also objects and people who, in some way, are related to them, such as collections and descendants of the participants of the historical moment.
Rastros, traços e vestígios is not a documentary project, but aims to discuss the process by which the past is reinstated in the present, what constitutes as a document and how historical narratives are created and perpetuated.
“French mission” is the name given to the group of French artists who arrived in Rio de Janeiro in March 1816, with the aim of instituting the teaching of the arts in the country based on the model of the French Academy, which led to the creation of the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts.
To this day, it is not clear whether this group was invited by the king or whether they arrived on their own, but regardless of this fact, the group led by Joachim Lebreton, with figures such as Taunay, Debret, Grandjean de Montigny and others, had a great and lasting impact on the national culture.
Two hundred years after the group’s arrival, in six trips to Rio de Janeiro over two years, André photographed several places related to this history, such as: the National Museum of Fine Arts, the School of Fine Arts of the UFRJ, Cascatinha Taunay, Casa Francia Brasil, Museo D. João VI, Solar Grandjean de Montigny, the Historical and Geographical Institute of Brazil. He also represented descendants of Taunay and students and professors of the School of Fine Arts of UFRJ.
Of the more than ten thousand photographs he took, André selected eighty-five to produce a large-format book, divided into three chapters, in which he presents a very unique view of the physical and immaterial remains of the French mission.
The first chapter of the book consists of a photographic reproduction of a 1959 publication containing the letter from Lebreton to the Count of Barca, dated 12 June 1816. In these images, which also function as a text in the book and a starting point for reading, the head of the mission details his project for the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts.
The unique combination of this historical document, the images of current reality and the portraits made by André Penteado, make up the strength of this book and offer the reader an open interpretation of this important fact in the history of Brazil.