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Synopsis

In this essay the critic Mário Schenberg discusses the political and cultural changes he sees in the wake of the uprising led by Getúlio Vargas that was known as the Revolução de 1930. Schenberg believes that the agricultural oligarchy’s loss of power and the corresponding rise of the industrial economic-financial aristocracy will usher in a second act for Brazilian republicanism. He thinks industrial growth will not only continue and “consolidate the spirit” of the working class in general, but will attract a “re-alignment of popular forces” which will lead to more democracy in Brazilian politics. In terms of culture, he expects to see the emergence of a form of “populist art,” especially in the fields of literature and the visual arts, as a result of the development of a modest middle class, inspired by various urban and rural “aspects of traditional life” that will be keenly interested in “how the humble folk live.”   

Leia esta sinopse em português
Synopsis

Análise e perspectivas sobre a política e a cultura no Brasil após a Revolução de 1930. Para o autor, a queda das oligarquias agrárias e a respectiva ascensão da aristocracia econômica de industriais e financistas significavam o início de um segundo período na história da República nacional. A expansão da indústria não somente aumentaria e "consolidaria o espírito" do operariado, como formaria em torno dele um "reagrupamento dos elementos populares", para efetivar uma era democrática na política brasileira. No plano cultural, a seu ver, sobressaia uma arte "populista", sobretudo na literatura e nas artes plásticas, ligada ao surgimento de uma pequena burguesia e inspirada nos "aspectos da vida popular" urbana e rural, com especial interesse na "existência da gente humilde".

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Annotations

In this reflection on popular culture, Mário Schenberg outlines his thoughts on the country’s political future and the ideology of a (longed-for) national culture. This essay is based on a questionnaire that was circulated among 29 representatives of what was referred to as “contemporary Brazil’s generation of young intellectuals,” a project organized by the writer Mario Neme (1912–73). Participants in the project described their hopes and fears concerning contemporary challenges in politics and culture in Brazil and the rest of the world. As a result of this exercise, Schenberg noticed that, since 1930 there had been a “magnificent pictorial epidemic in our field,” and was able to identify a certain “populist” trend among painters and writers. He was thus able to establish parallels between various key figures in Brazilian culture, as for example between the painter Candido Portinari and the writer Jorge Amado in terms of their heroic portrayals of ordinary Brazilians and the working class. And between the writer, politician, and journalist Graciliano Ramos and the painter known for his “psychological depth” Alfredo Volpi. And between the painter Tarsila do Amaral and the writer Gilberto Freyre, “based on the greedy interest shown by rich people in popular colors.” In fact, though a certain “aristocratic” form may still be apparent in some writers, though not “in the content of their work,” painting seems to have developed into a popular activity for ordinary people.       

 

This essay is by Brazil’s leading theoretical physicist, the politician and art critic Mário Schenberg (1914–90), who usually published scientific articles on thermodynamics, quantum and statistical physics, astrophysics, and mathematics. He was president of the Brazilian Physics Society (1979–81) and director of the Physics Department at the University of São Paulo (1953–61). He served two terms as a congressman for the state of São Paulo. His association with the PCB (Brazilian Communist Party) had a devastating effect on his life after the military coup in 1964, when he was stripped of all his political, academic, and personal rights. These were the early years of the Brazilian military dictatorship that was in power for two decades (1964–85), a time Schenberg identified as a period of great creativity in Brazil. Two years later (1969) the 10th São Paulo Biennial “went ahead” though it was severely boycotted by other countries as a result of AI-5 (Institutional Law no. 5) that deprived Brazilian citizens of their constitutional rights. That year Professor Schenberg was fired and denied his right to a pension, and was forbidden to enter the USP campus.  

 

On the subject of national cultures throughout the Americas, see an essay—of great importance because of its vision and pioneering nature—written by Machado de Assis in 1873, entitled “Instinto de nacionalidade” [doc. no. 1090436].

Leia este comentário crítico em português
Annotations

O ensaio integra uma série de consultas feita a 29 autores representantes da "geração de moços intelectuais do Brasil de hoje", organizada pelo escritor Mario Neme. A partir de um questionário comum, os autores convidados tratam de anseios e preocupações em relação aos problemas contemporâneos da política e da cultura no país e no mundo. O físico e crítico de arte Mário Schenberg nota, em sua participação, um "surto magnífico da pintura em nosso meio" desde 1930, além de identificar afinidades entre pintores e literatos "populistas". Estabelece, por essa via, paralelos entre Candido Portinari e Jorge Amado, por representações heróicas do povo e do trabalhador; entre Graciliano Ramos e Volpi, pela "profundidade psicológica"; e entre Tarsila do Amaral e Gilberto Freyre, pelo "olhar guloso de gente rica interessada no colorido popular". Se em alguns autores a literatura brasileira era ainda "aristocrática" na forma, mesmo que não o fosse "no conteúdo", a pintura conseguia se estabelecer como uma atividade artesanal e popular.

 

b- Cultura popular e projeto político

b- Ideologia da cultura nacional

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Researcher
José Augusto Ribeiro
Team
FAPESP, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Credit
Ana Clara Schenberg, filha de Mario Schenberg, São Paulo, BR
Location
Biblioteca do Instituto de Estudo Brasileiros - USP