INTRODUCTION


This website has been designed to offer its visitors the opportunity to discover that, in their cities of silence, symbols found in artistic tomb decorations stir the deepest and most significant of human feelings. The struggle for the secularization of Brazilian cemeteries began in 1870 by initiative of Republican politicians and Masonic lodges. We could assume that the funerary art produced in Brazil takes roots in two distinct situations during the First Republican period in the country (1890-1930). In the large cities, “European style” mausoleums were built and decorated with academic and modernist sculptures by artists that included Brazilians as well as Italian, German, French and Portuguese immigrants and their descendants. In cemeteries of small interior towns, gravemarkers were predominantly mass-produced at local marble yards after European models taken from illustrated catalogs. Within this wide range of possibilities, gravemarker artisans also employed regional materials in their renditions of religious, illustrative, and vernacular motifs. I believe that once made available on the World Wide Web, this material will provide access to a unique repository of documents, which in turn will inform other investigations on funerary art in Brazil.

Maria Elizia Borges.

Associate professor of art history at the Universidade Federal de Goiás College of Visual Arts . Teacher in graduate courses of history (FCHF) and visual culture (FAV). CNPq researcher and author of articles on funerary art in Brazil published in this country and abroad. Former teacher and coordinator of the Art Program at the School of Art at Universidade de Ribeirão Preto – UNAERP (1973-1991). Former faculty member of the School of Architecture at Instituição Moura Lacerda (Ribeirão Preto, 1992) and teacher of graduate-level history courses at Universidade Estadual Paulista – UNESP (Franca, 1994-95). Appointed City Secretary of Culture in Ribeirão Preto , SP (1993). Member of the Brazilian Art History Committee, Brazilian Art Critic Association, National Association of Art Researchers, and, in the United States , the Association for Gravestone Studies .



 I