Accession Number


Cåndido Portinari

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
gouache on board

18 7/8 in x 22 1/16 in x 1 15/16 in (47.94 cm x 56.04 cm x 4.92 cm);10 3/16 in x 13 7/8 in (25.88 cm x 35.24 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Clan Crawford, Jr.

Subject matter
Rather than making original work during a two-year fellowship in Paris between 1929-1931, Portinari instead set out "to observe, to research." He visited the Louvre regularly, where Théodore Géricault's massive 1819 painting The Raft of the Medusa has been on display since the nineteenth century. It is nearly certain that Portinari saw the work, and counted it among the canvases that inspired him, which he described to a correspondent in 1930 as "large pictures, with many groups of figures in enormous compositions and with varied structures." Yet he also criticized the slavish copying of European art, and wrote in support of infusing established models with novel techniques and native Brazilian subjects. UMMA's painting shows a desire to transform Géricault's rather classical style into a recognizably modern formal syntax. 

Physical Description
A group of approximately five men, one dressed in blue robes and the rest nude, extend their arms and a white flag. They form a pyramid atop what appears to be floating on a raft in a turbulent body of water. Three figures are standing, facing away from the viewier, and two lay prone on their backs on the raft, one in the near foreground facing towards the viewer and the other facing away, with knees bent upwards. The painting is executed with thick strokes of gouache in shades of beige, gray, brown, blue and green. 

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area
Modern and Contemporary

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

bodies of water (natural)
history paintings
men (male humans)
nudes (representations)
painting (image-making)
studies (visual works)

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved