Calligraphy and the Royal Emblems An Analysis of Portuguese and Brazilian Painted Manuscripts in the 18th Century
PDF, 25 pages
This article examines the use of royal emblems in Luso-Brazilian calligraphy during the eighteenth century. It is based on the analyses of a book written by Manoel de Andrade de Figueiredo entitled “Nova Escola para aprender a ler, escrever e contar” (“A New School for learning how to read, write and count”), published in Lisbon in 1722. The analyses helped to find important symbols used by the royal house of Bragança drawn as calligraphic ornaments merged with moralizing texts. They were among models of letters and other ornaments that were meant to be copied by apprentices. Several of these models appeared decorating public and private administrative documents in Brazil in the eighteenth century. There are two main aspects discussed in this paper: Firstly, the references and motivations of the author to spread the virtues of king D. João V and secondly, the necessary translations done by artists and by those who requested them.
Images have always played a vital role in political communication and in the visualization of power structures and hierarchies. They gain even more importance in situations where non-verbal communication prevails: In the negotiation processes between two (or more) different cultures, the language of the visual is often thought of as the most effective way to acquaint (and overpower) the others with one’s own principles, beliefs, and value systems. Scores of these asymmetrical exchange situations have taken place in the Portuguese overseas empire since its gradual expansion in the 16th century.
This book offers new insights into the broad and differentiated spectrum of functions images could assume in political contexts in those areas dominated by the Portuguese in early modern times. How were objects and artifacts staged and handled to generate new layers of meaning and visualize political ideas and concepts? And what were the respective reasons, means, and effects of the visualization of Portuguese power and politics?