Tempera Paintings Inspired by Tarsila do Amaral

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After looking at the work of Tarsila do Amaral, my 4th grade students created landscape paintings with an emphasis on value. They were asked to think about foreground, middle ground, and background.

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Tarsila do Amaral grew up on a farm in Capivari, Sao Paulo, Brazil.  In 1916 she began her study of art in Sao Paulo City and continued onto Paris in 1920.  The 1920’s were a time when it was trendy to copy the music, art and literature styles of Europe.

In 1922, Amaral returned to Brazil.  In February of that year, a group of “Coffee Barons” sponsored a series of events created by artists, poets and intellectuals.  Modern Art Week, as it was called, is considered the birthday of Brazilian Modernism.  Tarsila do Amaral is considered the “first lady of the Modernist movement.”

Although Amaral did not exhibit her art during this event, she made connections with other artists with similar ideas.  She soon returned to Paris to study under a group of cubists which included Fernand Leger.  Although his influence can be seen in her work, Amaral was determined to reveal a special “Brazilian-ness” through her paintings.  Her use of vivid color and surrealist forms are reminiscent of the flora and fauna of her home country, Brazil.

Adapted from www.tarsiliadoamaral.com

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