Statues - Hither & Thither

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Ouro Preto
Minas Gerais

Rua Claudio Manoel 61  
(Casa de Tomás Antônio Gonzaga)

Uma Visão Contemporânea de Marília de Dirceu

A Contemporary View of Marília de Dirceu

Title of a poem (1792) by Tomás António Gonzaga, referring to his girlfriend Maria Doroteia Joaquina de Seixas Brandão (1767-1853), who participated the Inconfidência Mineira in 1789.
Evandro Carneiro

Ouro Preto /  Uma Visão Contemporânea de Marília de Dirceu   Ouro Preto /  Uma Visão Contemporânea de Marília de Dirceu


Modern bust of a woman with and iron mask looking to a bird on her breast. On the back, a relief of a face is in her veal.

Information Sign

The complete text of the information sign is: Uma Visão Contemporânea de Marília de Dirceu (texto de Mário Margutti sobre a escultura Marília de Dirceu)

A partial translation is:

Evandro experienced all the challenges inherent in this work. What face would Marília have, this woman who is pure mystery in the winds of history? How to measure her pain, knowing that she was brutally separated from her beloved (the poet was exiled to Africa) and to whom she remained faithful, never having married? What period clothing she should wear? How to follow the indications given by the poet about the look of his beloved ('your eyes spread divine light, to whom the sunshine in vain dares')?

Evandro imagined a long-haired, veiled Marília, a discreet cleavage in her lap. The modesty of the historical character was thus clearly dimensioned. Then begins the dream trip: the artist imagined the unknown face of Marília behind the barred windows typical of the architecture of Ouro Preto in colonial times. Thus, instead of a face, Marília gained an iron mask, similar to the ones that were given to the prisoners that, besides imprisoned in dungeons, were also condemned to the eternal anonymity. With this formal solution, he composed a metaphor of Marília prisoner of her time, imprisoned mainly in her feminine condition. Instead of a beautiful and delicate face, the sculptor offers us a mask of suffering, of loving exile, of prison in celibacy and of the oppressive customs of Brazil Colony.

The very human face of Marília was modeled by the sculptor on… the back of the head of the bust! As a sort of hidden face, it simultaneously preserves and reveals the mystery of the unknown face of the poet's muse. Thus the sculptor composed a visual metaphor of the woman who only comes to us in the idealized version of the verses of Gonzaga. In a surrealistic lyric, Evandro shifts the rules and routines of figurative art, to provoke strangeness, to make the observer think, inviting him to delve into the mystery of this woman who, so idealized, can only have her face sculpted by the unexpected. Pure improvisation. The old pastoral poetry of the poet Gonzaga is thus transformed into a visuality of contemporary art.

To honor the poet's love for the woman he could not have, Evandro fixed on the bust the figure of a bird. It is a reference to the 'sonorous bird' that, in a poem, Tomás António Gonzaga mentally sent to Ouro Preto to greet Marília in his name, when he was already incarcerated in a prison on Snakes Island, in Rio de Janeiro.

Another very special symbolic dimension of this sculpture is the hollow that Evandro inserted at the height of the heart of the character Marília. Thus the sculptor constructs a visual metaphor of the emptiness of solitude to which poor Marília was condemned by the exile imposed on her beloved poet, who simultaneously condemned her to the exile of eternal and unremitting longing.

Ouro Preto - Uma Visão Contemporânea de Marília de Dirceu



Location (S 20°23'8" - W 43°30'10")

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Item Code: brmg087; Photograph: 15 July 2017
Of each statue we made photos from various angles and also detail photos of the various texts.
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© Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt

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