And Ouro Preto, Brazil had a sculptor and architect by the name of Aleijadinho. Although Aleijadinho is largely unknown to most of the world, he was, in his own way, even more accomplished than his Italian counterpart.
Antonio Francisco Lisboa was born in Ouro Preto sometime during the s. That actual date is not certain. His father was an immigrant carpenter from Brazil who was so skilled at his craft that he became the most highly regarded architect in the region.
Before long, he had achieved notoriety in his own right by designing the Chapel of the Third Order of St. Not only did he create the building, Lisboa also sculpted the exterior carvings, including a bas-relief of St. Francis receiving the stigmata. Most experts believe it was leprosy, but others suggest it could have been scleroderma. Before long the disease even cost him his fingers. Despite his physical impairments, Antonio continued to sculpt using a hammer and chisel that were strapped to his hands by his assistants.
So horrified was he by his disfigurement that he worked only at night. If he did go out in public, he was carried in a covered palanquin. To the citizens of Our Preto, no longer was he Antonio Lisboa.
Soon after came artisans and architects who created outstanding Baroque churches as well as exquisite fountains and bridges. Ultimately, all of the roads diverge into Tiradentes Square -- the cultural focal point of the city from which everything radiates. The square is surrounded by imposing public and private buildings that rise from cobblestone streets to gaze at the panoramic vistas.
Rapidly moving clouds sweep across the hills painting a continuous array of rainbow images.
One hill can be bathed in brilliant sunshine, while another darkens under carbon-like thunderheads and still others shimmer among a kaleidoscope of darkness and light. Located roughly miles north of Rio de Janeiro, even today the city retains much of its 18th century character with horse and mule drawn wooden carts and peasant women walking the streets with bundles of laundry balanced on their heads.
This was the world of Aleijadinho who perhaps saved his crowing achievement until the end of his life though he was then at the height of his suffering.
Commissioned by a wealthy businessman who built the Sanctuary of Born Jesus of Matosinhos at Congohas, the Little Cripple created a series of small sculpted scenes to honor the Twelve Prophets.
Pads were strapped to his knees, enabling him to climb the ladder that reached his creations.
And Ouro Preto, Brazil had a sculptor and architect by the name of Aleijadinho.
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