Last week the Getty Research Institute hosted a visitor from Brazil, Eliana de Azevedo Marques. She is chief librarian at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism at the University of São Paulo. We gave her a tour of our architectural holdings, conservation studios, and digitization labs. She was fascinated by our rolled architectural plan storage system, as well as by a blueprint by California architect John Lautner. It reminded her of drawings by renowned Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer.
Eliana’s visit to the Research Institute follows on the heels of the Getty’s weeklong trip to six different departments of art history in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. Three of us traveled to these cities, met and talked with over 40 art historians. That’s where we met Eliana—she showed us her library and archive. We were delighted to reciprocate last week.
The art historical community in Brazil is thriving: new departments and curricula are being created at an astonishing rate. Our small group was very interested in experimental programs underway at some of the universities. Professors are expanding the scope of their courses to include cultures beyond the scope of Western and Brazilian traditions—one department requires that professors draw on at least three different cultural spheres and time periods in each syllabus. As an example, a professor is teaching European Renaissance art history as a prism through which to study the Aztecs as well as the cultures of classical antiquity.
The trip to Brazil is part of the Getty’s ongoing efforts to explore and support innovative programs concerning the visual arts beyond the Western tradition. The Foundation’s “Connecting Art Histories” initiative has supported projects in Argentina (University of Buenos Aires), India (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi), and Turkey (Boğaziçi University, Istanbul) that help to strengthen international connections among scholars. And the Research Institute’s International Scholars Program has helped bring scholars from around the world to the Getty. Eliana’s visit proves that these efforts continue to bear fruit!
For reports on the Getty’s visits to various campus sites in Brazil, follow these links. (You’ll also get a chance to practice your Portuguese!)