The Pátio do Colégio in the second half of the XNUMXth century. Photo: reproduction

In the wake of the protests against the murder of George Floyd by the racist police officer in the United States, iconoclastic actions thrived, in that and other countries. In Brazil, if iconoclasm has not (yet) taken hold as a corollary of the protests against the death of Floyd (and hundreds of other Floyds, killed and killed every day around here), at least the debate has restarted. We return to discussing the pertinence of maintaining monuments to notorious predators and human traffickers in our squares.

If today we remember the bandeirante when we talk about death and human trafficking, not long ago his figure was associated with the most intrepid thing that could exist in the “Brazilian soul” (and not just in São Paulo). For many, Brazil should thank the pioneer because it would have been for his “bravery” that the country managed to extend its territory beyond the old Treaty of Tordesillas.[1].

The bandeirante – active in the first three hundred years of colonization – was recovered at the beginning of the XNUMXth century when, faced with the arrival and rapid empowerment of adventitious people, the paulistas began to rescue them. This recovery ended up expanding over time for two reasons: first, due to the increasingly intense arrival of hordes of immigrants from all over the world and not just from Portugal. Against these “invaders” who threatened local traditions, the cult of the ancients. It was also necessary to justify the leading role of the São Paulo elite in the destiny of Brazil at the beginning of the XNUMXth century. Thus, there is nothing more appropriate than associating the “audacity” of the pioneers of yesterday with that of the “new” pioneers. Several members of this elite believed in this narrative that linked them to the early pioneers. Thus, faced with the bad influences of “immigrantism” and those who contested the “historical” supremacy of the Paulistas, they understood that it was necessary to make that fiction palpable. This is what happened to Adolfo Augusto Pinto[2].

Celebrated by Almeida Jr. in painting belonging to the Pinacoteca – Adolfo Augusto Pinto's family scene, 1891 –, this engineer integrated the generations of the “new pioneers” from São Paulo, because, after being responsible for infrastructure works in the city of São Paulo, he rose to a high position as responsible for the expansion of Companhia Paulista de Estrada de Ferro. A “pathfinder”, Pinto also stood out as an ideologue of “Paulistaneidade”: drunk with pride for São Paulo, he wanted the city to live up to the fact that it was the cradle of old and new bandeirantes.

I already had the opportunity to list (read here) the sculptural monuments made in São Paulo that had the engagement and, many times, the direct intervention of Pinto[3]. His efforts to translate São Paulo's idealized history into granite, marble and bronze, however, did not always result in monuments that were actually built. However, even those unrealized projects reiterate the power of the ideology that shaped, on the symbolic level, the role of São Paulo and the paulistas, as the first and only responsible, according to this vision, for everything positive that would have happened in Brazil, since 1500.

Adolfo Pinto's interest in São Paulo was not restricted to its infrastructure. As a corollary of the improvements that governments carried out in the city, Pinto reflected on the need to “beautify” the capital, designing solutions that, by combining ease of flow, leisure and aesthetic delight, would transform the birthplace of the pioneers into a dream, a tropical condensation of Versailles, Rome and Florence.

In a lecture given in November 1917[4], Adolfo A. Pinto made public the idea of ​​transforming the historic center of the city, the Pátio do Colégio[5]. As the city was born precisely in that place – where Fathers Manoel da Nóbrega and José de Anchieta had founded the Jesuit College, with the support of the chief Tibiriçá –, Largo do Palácio, in his view, should be transformed into a Civic Center. to revere the heroes born in São Paulo.


Adolfo Pinto begins the 1917 conference noting the absence of monuments in São Paulo honoring the city and its heroes. He compared the state capital to the situation in other Brazilian cities. Rio de Janeiro, for example, presented in its squares, parks and museums, the effigies of the great Brazilians. Sao Paulo, nothing. According to him, however, the situation was about to change due to the competition to choose the monument in honor of the centenary of Independence to be installed in front of the Museu Paulista. For the lecturer, as the country's independence had taken place in São Paulo, it was only fair that the monument was built in the city. Although:

…it would be doing very little of our past to suppose that it was born from the cry of Ipiranga, when it is certain that it was already three centuries old, and during the longest stretch of that period it had to perlude the valiant lineage of the founders of colonial Brazil, our brave countrymen of the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries.
It is equally certain that the bandeirante epic had its flame in the potential of the ethnic elements that collaborated in the foundation and initial development of Piratininga.
(…) shall we, the people of São Paulo, celebrate the centenary of Independence, (…) let them continue to be buried in black and desolate, forgetting their great atavistic factors?[6]

This was a rhetorical question because everyone knew that in 1910 there had been a competition for the erection of a monument in honor of the foundation of the city of São Paulo, won by Amadeo Zani. The work, produced in Italy, was already in São Paulo, but, boxed, awaiting a solution for Largo do Palácio, where it would be installed.

There were two possibilities for the future of the Largo: either the buildings installed there would be renovated or demolished, increasing the space of the square to receive the Zani monument.[7]. For Adolfo Pinto, the second alternative was the one that pleased him the most, as it met his desire to establish the Civic Center to which he aspired.

Government Palace and the Glória Immortal to the Founders of São Paulo monument, by Amadeo Zani, in 1926. Photo: Reproduction

For him, that place was the symbol of Brazilian nationality, constituted by the combination of Portuguese and indigenous, under the tutelage of Christianity and the Catholic Church. It was from there that São Paulo had begun to expand into other corners until it reached, thanks to the audacity of its children, territories that had previously been foreign.

In addition to this historical value, Adolfo Pinto called attention to another singularity of Largo do Palácio: on one of its sides, a special landscape was revealed, made up of the Tamanduateí floodplain – which would soon be transformed into Parque do Carmo.[8] –; further on, “the industrious industrial beehive that today is Bráz” and, on especially clear days, the “blue slopes of Cantareira”:

So ennobled by nature and history – as if in São Paulo we should see gathered in one place the memories and beauties that Rome venerates and contemplates in the Capitólio and Pincio – the old College square is naturally destined to see art rise. on its sacred ground the glorifying monument of the main figures of the foundation of São Paulo[9].

Installed in the center of that “sacred ground”, the author proposed that the Zani Monument be surrounded by a fabulous garden, to the Versailles, with light sources and water basins, but with one difference: taking advantage of the fact that São Paulo has a large hydraulic capacity, water jets over a hundred meters high would be erected there, transforming the French garden and its fountains, under “thumbnails”:

The famous great waters of Versailles – with jets obtained at the cost of artificial pressure and reaching at most twenty meters in height – […] the famous great waters would only be a modest miniature of the incomparable effects of the same kind that could be obtained here with insignificant expenditure.[10]

To complete such an extraordinary space, Pinto also proposed the construction of a gazebo. Its function would be to provide São Paulo residents with the enjoyment of the panoramic view towards Cantareira and, at the same time, on certain dates, “the pleasure of admiring the most remarkable water games in the world”. However, the belvedere would have another attraction, this one fundamental to the glory of the city: a gallery of sculptures where the most illustrious Paulistas would be represented!

The source of inspiration for this "Pantheon of the immortals of São Paulo” was the Uffizi Gallery, in Florence, which, in the mid-XNUMXth century, had completed an old project to place niches with sculptures on its facade depicting the main characters born and/or active in the city. For Adolfo Pinto those elements of Gallery, depicting figures such as Michelangelo, Dante Alighieri, Da Vinci and Galileo, among others, was an example of civility to be followed:

As you see, gentlemen, the figures that populate the gallery of the immortals of Florence are brilliant, admirable, and the cult that the beautiful Italian city pays to the memory of its illustrious sons is not only a tribute to its virtues, it is also a wise practical lesson. , intuitive of civics. The noble gesture of Florence is worthy of imitation in São Paulo. Because, like the Florentines, we too can be nobly proud of the heroes of our history.[11]

Adolfo Pinto doubted whether one day this great homage to the people of São Paulo would come to fruition, although he had no doubt as to its pertinence:

“what (…) in my soul as a paulista, in my conscience as a patriot, I have the most grateful satisfaction of recognizing and feel the need to proclaim is that, for the glory of my land, no people honors itself with an ancestry more worthy of the honorable tribute”[12].

If we look at the Florentines honored, we will see that there are plenty of poets, writers, artists, doctors, other scientists and military leaders.[13]. The list of people from São Paulo expected to be represented at the Civic Center designed by Adolfo Pinto would have other characteristics. It begins with the figure of Tibiriçá, chief of Piratininga and guide “of the sacred phalanx”:

If one day our Pantheon is built, on the sacred ground on which the city was born, and the relics of one of its most dedicated founders are brought back to the site of its historic burial, this simple inscription on the pedestal of the statue that will rise will say it all. on the sarcophagus: Tibiriçá, first citizen of São Paulo.[14]

Starting from Tibiriçá, the author lists the people from São Paulo who stood out as hunters of precious stones and/or human beings and explorers of territories: Affonso Sardinha, the first of the pioneers, responsible for the exploration of the Jaraguá deposits; Antonio Raposo, invader of the Spanish Reductions; Fernão Dias Paes Leme, owner of five thousand enslaved Indians, but “with a deeply religious soul”; Domingos Jorge Velho, responsible for the “definitive conquest of Palmares”; Paschoal Moreira Cabral Leme, conqueror of the territory of Mato Grosso; Bartholomeo Bueno da Silva, conqueror of Goiás; Amador Bueno da Ribeira who refused his acclamation as King of São Paulo[15]; Balthazar de Borba Gatto, a typical paulista, the result of the miscegenation between indigenous and Portuguese elements, full of “native haughtiness”; Belchior de Pontes, the “Anchieta of the XNUMXth century”, a priest who accompanied the flags; Pedro Vaz de Barros, responsible for the imprisonment of two thousand three hundred indigenous people in Bahia[16].

The Glory Immortal Monument to the Founders of São Paulo, by Amadeo Zani. Photo: reproduction

Having listed these eleven names directly or indirectly linked to the bandeirista company, Afonso Augusto Pinto begins a list of other paulistas who would have distinguished themselves in various activities and who would deserve to have their sculptures in the Pantheon. Though don't forget some scientists, writers and artists[17], draws attention in his list of the sector formed by politicians who, especially from the second half of the XNUMXth century onwards, had contributed to consolidating the position of the state of São Paulo as a leader in the Brazilian context. In this sense, if Adolfo A. Pinto imagines the beginning of his temple with sculptures dedicated to the old bandeirantes, he ends it with the representation of the new ones. Thus, the images of Prudente de Morais, Campos Salles, Eduardo da Silva Prado, Francisco Glycerio and Bernardino de Campos, among others[18], would close this grandiloquent fantasy with a Florentine flavor, implanted on the edges of a to Versailles, a Civic Center to invoke and ask for the blessing of the ancestors of São Paulo, the “backbone” of Brazil:

Before you, (…), champions of the civic rebirth of the Fatherland, (…) we all bow down, we, your descendants, your legitimate heirs, the visceral legatees of your incomparable estate, to render to you the recognized honor of our deepest admiration and reference, and to ask you to be (…) the guiding spirits of the directive that will lead to its high destiny our shaken land of São Paulo, the land that you conquered with your courage, that you fertilized with your work, that you have dignified it with your patriotism, so that it may be for us to come, as it was for those who have passed, the maximum factor of the greatness and happiness of Brazil.[19].


As an epilogue, I would like to point out that, for the current perspective, the absence of honored women stands out, both in São Paulo and in Florentine, a fact that could have had little or no importance for the society of São Paulo at the time, in which women had little recognition[20]. Noteworthy, however, is the fact that Adolfo Pinto placed an indigenous person – Tibiriçá – as the first of the Paulistas. This precession of the chief of Piratininga as the greatest patriarch would be followed in the text by a series of references to the presence of the indigenous in the formation of the pioneer in São Paulo. Can we understand these references to indigenous people as a recognition of the importance or equality of the indigenous in relation to the Portuguese? Of course not, I would say. The allusion to the indigenous people and their blood that flowed through the veins of the “true” paulistas, works in Pinto's discourse only as a marker of the difference between these “authentic” paulistas and the immigrants who arrived from all over the world.

As for the African ancestry of Carlos Gomes or other people from São Paulo, not a single peep.


[1] – During the last century, the pioneer stopped being a São Paulo myth to become a Brazilian myth. The texts of an intellectual such as Cassiano Ricardo, among others, as well as the image of Juscelino Kubtscheck contributed to this transformation.
[2] – On Adolfo A. Pinto, see, among others: “The doctor and the monuments”, by Tadeu Chiarelli. ARTE!Brasileiros. December 18, 2019.ão/conversa-de-bar
[3] – See note 2.
[4] – The conference, “Os imortais de S. Paulo”, was given on the occasion of a festival promoted by the Liga Nacionalista de S. Paulo on November 15, 1917 and later published in the book: PINTO, Adolpho A. PINTO. Tributes. São Paulo: Casa Vanorden, 1926 p. 57 et seq.
[5] – So Palace Square.
[6] – Same as page 65.
[7] – The Monument to the Fundação de S. Paulo will only be installed in 1925 (read “The Doctor and the Monuments”, by Tadeu Chiarelli. ARTE!Brasileiros. December 18, 2019.ão/conversa-de-bar). The Government Palace building was not demolished in that period and in 1930 it became the headquarters of the Education Department. Only in 1953 the building will be demolished to prepare the place for the commemorations of the IV Centenary of the city. In 1979, the Padre Anchieta Museum was inaugurated there. In a building that recalls the one built there in 1556, as well as a church that, in 1980, became known as Igreja do Beato José de Anchieta (on the subject, consult: ). Of course, when he gave the lecture under analysis, Adolfo A. Pinto had no idea how long it would take for the building to be demolished and that none of what he had predicted would be built.
[8] – Then, Parque D. Pedro II.
[9] – PINTO, Adolpho A. Tributes. São Paulo: Casa Vanorden, 1926 p. 68.
[10] – Idem, p. 70.
[11] – Idem, p. 72. In time: in the gallery of Florentine notables, in addition to those mentioned by the author, there are representations of: Cosme de Medici (Grand Duke of Tuscany), Lorenzo de Medici (politician); Andrea Organa (architect); Nicola Pisano (sculptor); Giotto (painter); Donatello (sculptor); Leon B. Alberti (architect); Francesco Petrarch (poet); Giovanni Boccaccio (writer); Nicolo Macchiavelli (writer); Francesco Guicciardini (historian); Amerigo Vespucci (cartographer); Farinata degli Uberti (military); Pier Caponi (politician); Giovanni dalle Bande Nere (military); Francesco Ferruccio (military); Per Antonio Micheli (botanist); Francesco Redi (physician); Paolo Mascagni (doctor); Andrea Cesalpino (physician); St. Anthony (theologian); Accurio (jurist); Guido Aretino (writer).
[12] – Idem p. 73.
[13] – See note 8.
[14] PINTO, Adolfo A. Tributes. São Paulo: Casa Vanorden, 1926 p. 74.
[15] – It is interesting that, complementing the entry dedicated to Amador Bueno da Ribera, Adolfo Pinto cites what Saint-Hilaire had written about that former inhabitant of São Paulo and what would have happened if he had accepted to be acclaimed King of São Paulo: “With Such a leader, who must be qualified as the greatest figure of primitive times, the Paulistas would become independent, and, soon, the most formidable people of South America”. (apud: PINTO, Adolpho A. Tributes. São Paulo: Casa Vanorden, 1926 page 81). In my view, the author draws attention to this part of the French chronicler's text that inflated the pride of the locals is enlightening on São Paulo's pride.
[16] – The information about the characters mentioned was taken from the text by Adolfo Pinto, which demonstrates how much, for the author, the bandeiristas activities were naturalized.
[17] – Bartolomeu de Gusmão, Jesuíno de Monte Carmelo, Álvares de Azevedo, Almeida Jr. and Oswaldo Cruz, among others.
[18] – In the Florentine pantheon, 28 personalities were honored. If Adolfo Augusto Pinto's proposal were carried forward, 43 would be honored. As mentioned, the Paulistas linked to “historical” banderismo, follow their “heirs”, listed by Pinto: Gaspar da Madre de Deus; Alexandre de Gusmao; Bartolomeu Lourenço de Gusmão; Pedro Taques de Almeida Paes Leme; José Arouche de Toledo Rendon; Jesuíno do Monte Carmel; José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva; Antonio Carlos de Andrada e Silva; Martim Francisco de Andrada; Diogo Antonio Feijo; José Feliciano F. Pinheiro; José Joaquim Machado de Oliveira; Nicolau P. de Campos Vergueiro; Francisco de Paula Souza; Antonio Joaquim de Mello; Francisco Adolfo Varnhagen; Gabriel Jose Rodrigues dos Santos; José Antonio Pimenta Bueno; Manoel Antonio Alvares Azevedo; Arthur Silveira da Motta; Clemente Falcão de Souza Filho; Antonio de Queiroz Telles; Antonio Carlos Gomes; José Ferraz de Almeida Jr.; Prudente José de Moraes Barros; Manoel Ferraz de Campos Salles; Francisco Glycerio; Bernardino de Campos; Cesario de Azevedo Motta Magalhães; Eduardo da Silva Prado; Oswaldo Cruz and Francisco de Paula Rodrigues.
[19] – PINTO, Adolpho A. Tributes. São Paulo: Casa Vanorden, 1926 p. 128.
[20] – We cannot forget, however, that less than a month away from this conference, Anita Malfatti would inaugurate an exhibition in which she would be the protagonist and which would, over time, place the artist at a significant level in the field of art and of the country's culture.

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