The Baroque in Brazil was the dominant artistic style during most of the colonial period, finding a receptive ground for a rich flowering. It made its appearance in the country in the early seventeenth century, introduced by missionaries Catholics, especially Jesuit, that there went to catechize and acculturate the indigenous natives and assist the Portuguese in the colonizing process. Throughout the colonial period there was an intimate association between the Church and the State, but as in the colony there was no court that served as patron, as the elites did not bother to build palaces or sponsor the profane arts until the end of the period, and since religion exerted enormous influence in the daily life of all, from this set of factors derives that the vast majority of the Brazilian baroque legacy is in the sacred art: statuary, painting and work of carving for decoration of churches and convents or for private worship.
The most typical characteristics of Baroque, usually described as a dynamic style, narrative, ornamental, dramatic, cultivating the contrasts and a seductive plasticity, convey a programmatic content articulated with refinements of rhetoric and great pragmatism. Baroque art was an essentially functional art, doing very well for the purposes it was put to serve: in addition to its purely decorative function, facilitated the absorption of Catholic doctrine and traditional customs by the neophytes, being an efficient pedagogical and catechetical instrument. Soon the most skilled pacified Indians, and then the blacks imported as slaves, exposed massively to the Portuguese culture, from mere spectators of their artistic expressions passed to producing agents, being responsible, mainly the black ones, by great part of the baroque produced in the country. They and the popular artisans, in a society in the process of integration and stabilization, began to give the European Baroque new and original features, and for this reason it is considered that this acclimatization constitutes one of the first testimonies of the formation of a genuinely Brazilian culture.
In the literature, the epic poem Prosopopeia (1601), by Bento Teixeira, is considered as one of its initial milestones, reaching the apogee with the poet Gregorio de Matos and with the sacred orator Father Antonio Vieira. In the plastic arts his greatest exponents were Aleijadinho and Mestre Ataíde. In the field of architecture this school was mainly rooted in the Northeast and Minas Gerais, but left numerous and numerous examples for almost all the rest of the country, from Rio Grande do Sul to Pará. As for music, by literary accounts it is known that it was also prodigal, but, unlike the other arts, almost nothing was saved. With the development of Neoclassicism and Academism from the first decades of the nineteenth century, the Baroque tradition quickly fell into disuse in elite culture. But he survived in popular culture, especially in interior regions, in the work of santeiros and in some festivities.
Since modernist intellectuals began a process of redemption of the national Baroque at the beginning of the twentieth century, a large number of buildings and collections of art have already been protected by the government in its various instances through tipping, musealization or other processes, attesting the official recognition of the importance of the Baroque for the history of Brazilian culture. Baroque historical centers such as the cities of Ouro Preto, Olinda and Salvador and artistic complexes such as the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus de Matosinhos have received the status of World Heritage Site, by the stamp of Unesco. This precious heritage is one of the great attractions of the country’s cultural tourism, at the same time that it becomes an identifiable icon of Brazil, both for land natives and for foreigners. Despite its importance, much of the material legacy of the Brazilian Baroque is in a poor state of repair and requires restoration and other conservative measures, with frequent losses or degradation of valuable examples in all artistic modalities. The country still has much to do to preserve such an important part of its history., tradition and culture. On the other hand, it seems to grow the awareness of the population in general about the need to protect a patrimony that belongs to all and that can revert for the benefit of all, a benefit even economic if well managed and maintained. National museums every day strive to improve their techniques and procedures, the bibliography is booming, the government has invested heavily in this area and even the good market that the national baroque art always finds help in its valuation as pieces worthy of attention and care.
Buildings of the Church
The first sacred buildings of some form of Brazil were erected from the second half of the sixteenth century, when some villages already had a population to justify it. These were the cases of Olinda and Salvador. The simplest ones used the stick-by-the- palm technique, being covered with palm leaves, but from the outset the missionaries worried about the durability and solidity of the buildings, preferring whenever possible to build masonry, although often due to various circumstances, were obliged to use the mud or the adobe. The plants were looking first and foremost for the functionality, basically composing a quadrangle without division in ships and without chapelslateral, with an elemental façade that implanted a triangular pediment on a rectangular base, and it can be said that in that inaugural period there was no greater concern with ornaments. This style, a derivation of Mannerism, whose austerity referred to the classic buildings, was known by the name of “architecture chã”. In 1577 Frei and architect Francisco Dias arrived in Salvador with the declared mission of introducing technical improvements and aesthetic refinement in the colony’s churches. It had the influence of Vignola, whose style had fallen to the liking of the Portuguese court, and was the author of the first baroque temple in Europe, the Church of Jesus in Rome, which immediately became a model for many other Jesuit churches around the world. In Brazil the model was adapted, keeping the layout of the nave unique but dispensing with the dome and the transept and favoring the towers.
Despite the improvements, until the mid- seventeenth century the Jesuit buildings, concentrated in the northeast, remained externally in the traditional outlines of great simplicity, in which they influenced other religious orders, reserving to the interiors the luxury that could be added, in carved altars, paintings and statuary. However, if the Jesuits were quite faithful to the original Italian model, the Franciscans allowed themselves to introduce variations on the facades, which could be preceded by a porch or include a galilee, while the steeple moved back. Inside, the chancelFranciscan tended to be less profound than Jesuit, and the absence of side aisles could be compensated for by two narrow longitudinal ambulatories. Next to this model is the Church of St. Anthony in Cairu, considered the first to exhibit clearly baroque features. His designer, Friar Daniel of San Francisco, created the façade in a triangle scheme, with fanciful scrolls on the pediment and on the sides; was a complete novelty, without parallels even in Europe.
During the Dutch domination in the northeast many of the Catholic buildings were destroyed, and in the second half of the seventeenth century, after the expulsion of the invaders, the main effort was concentrated on the restoration and reformation of pre-existing structures with relatively few new foundations. By this time the Baroque was already the dominant style. But it received other influences, like the one of Borromini, lending more movement to the facades with the addition of arc openings, gradis, reliefs and glasses. In the interiors, the decoration also gained in wealth, but the schemes were somewhat static, in what is conventionally called “Portuguese national style”.
Over time, the facades acquired more verticality and movement, with openings in unusual shapes – pear, diamond, star, oval or circle – and the pediments, more curves, reliefs in stone and statuary. Examples are the Matrix of Santo Antônio and the Concatedral of São Pedro dos Clérigos, in Recife, and in Salvador the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary of the Blacks. A somewhat different phenomenon occurred in the Southern Reductions, although in that period that territory still belonged to Spain. There the constructions showed a more monumental character, and with a greater variety of structural solutions, with porticos, colonnades andfrontispices. Also in the Reductions a remarkable urban development program for the village of the natives was developed. Today in ruins, part of this nucleus of civil and religious architecture in southern Brazil was declared a World Heritage Site.
From the middle of the eighteenth century, under the influence of the French Rococo, one perceives in the exterior of the buildings a lightness in the proportions, making them more elegant; the openings are wider, allowing a greater penetration of external light, and the detailing in the stone reliefs reaches a high level. Rococo also gave important fruits in the Northeast, as the Convent and Church of San Francisco in João Pessoa, considered by Bazin the most perfect of its kind in the region. But it should be noted that, while on the one hand the facade and interior decorations became more and more sumptuous and busy, the floors of the buildings, throughout the entire Baroque trajectory in the country, moved little further than the ground style. In the words of John Bury,
“Even in the eighteenth century, when façades, domes, towers, altarpieces, pulpits and the internal ornamentation of the churches generally freed themselves completely from all the preceding limitations of static and rectilinear tracings, and the façades of the churches of the Baroque and Rococo developed a strong dynamism and a predilection for curving and sinuous forms almost unparalleled in Europe, yet the lower floors of these churches have remained monotonously faithful to the severe rectangular tracings of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. ”
It is also necessary to remember in all phases the popular contribution in many projects of poor communities, in matrices and small chapels that dot the Brazilian backlands, contributing to the diversity and simplifying proportions, ornaments, techniques and materials often in creative solutions, of great plasticity. In parallel to the construction of churches, religious built many convents, monasteries, schools and hospitals, some of them avantajadas dimensions and that, in the first two cases they could be decorated with a luxury comparable to that found in the wealthier churches. As for the others, they excel in simplicity and functionality, stripped of ornaments.
In civil, private or public architecture, the Baroque left relatively few buildings of greater magnitude, being in general quite modest lines. On the other hand, the sets of historical centers of some cities (Salvador, Ouro Preto, Olinda, Diamantina, São Luís and Goiás), declared World Heritage by Unesco, still remain largely intact, presenting an extensive and valuable uninterrupted landscape of civil architecture of the baroque, with often original urbanistic solutions and with full illustration of all the adaptations of the style to the different social strata and their transformations over the years. Many other cities also preserve meaningful groupings of colonial houses like Paraty, Boulder, Marechal, Cananeia and Rio Pardo.
Residence during the Baroque period was characterized by the great heterogeneity of structural solutions and the use of materials, often employing techniques learned from the Indians, a diversity that is found between rich and poor. However, in the urban environment the formula that became more frequent, inherited from the Portuguese architecture, was of a single-story structure, with a façade that opened directly onto the street and was attached to that of neighboring houses, and with rooms in a row, often poorly ventilated, poorly lit and multiple use. In this simple structure, often enlarged in two- or even four-storey houses, the distinctive Baroque features can be more easily identified in some details, such as curved roofs with eaves ending in roped ends,arches shot down in the yards, the ornamental frames and slats in the windows, some decorative painting and tiles, since, as a rule, the colonial residence always had a very austere structure and was sparsely furnished and decorated. In the rural interior, without the space limitations found in the city environment, the diversity was much more pronounced.
Deserve note many solar and old headquarters mills and farms, as bandeiristas houses, the House of Eleven Windows, the Solar de São Lourenço Viscount, the Imperial Farm of Santa Cruz, the Mato Farm of Pipa the Fazenda de Sant’Ana, Fazenda Salto Grande, Fazenda Tatu, the Solar Ferrão and several other rural and urban mansions of wealthy families, which if on the one hand can be quite spacious and comfortable, even imposing, generally have very stripped lines and economic internal decoration, and are often only a magnification of the model of popular housing, privileging functionality rather than luxury. In the Northeastern coast, the beautifully tiled houses are remarkable for their rich decorative effect and the creative solutions they found to soften the effects of the hot and humid climate of the region, with a great concentration of specimens in the Historic Center of São Luís.
The despoiling of civil architecture could be surprising in the case of elite houses, given the great wealth of many families living on the land, but it is explained by the fact that the colonial context of life was marked by dispersion, instability and mobility, with families that were weakly structured, which was reflected in the provisional, simplified and improvised character of so many buildings, avoiding expenses with what would at first be used for a short time. In fact, the less it was spent in the colony, the better, for in the early centuries of colonization a good part of the Portuguese moved to those far and wide Brasis imagining to stay alone for the season, yearning to return to Portugal as soon as it made a fortune, leaving behind a land admittedly beautiful and rich but inhospitable and wild, considered unhealthy weather, Since the beginning of the colonization process that feeling of inconstancy will be apparent, as noted, for example, the critic of BrVicente of Salvador, formulated in 1627 in his Brazil’s history, general aversion that awakened the idea of having Brazil as the definitive residence:
“The settlers, who, rooted as they were on earth, and richer than they were, all intended to take Portugal, and if the farms and possessions they possessed knew how to speak, they would also teach them how to say how parrots, to whom the first thing they teach is ‘real parrot for Portugal’, because everything wants to go there, and this not only has those who came from there, but still those who are born, who both use the land, not as masters, but as usufructuaries, only to enjoy it, and to leave it destroyed “.
Moreover, even the most powerful ruling elites were constantly afflicted in the colonial everyday by difficulties, uncertainties, and shortcomings of all kinds, as manifested in the eternal complaints of the Marquis of Lavradio and other Kingdom officials, with the result that even their own palaces and important public buildings were poor and inaccurate compared to Portuguese congeners. Of the few significant examples in the category of public palaces stand out some old Chamber of houses and chain, such as Ouro Preto, perhaps the most famous, with a rich and bustling facade where there is a porchwith columns, monumental staircase, tower and statuary; to Mariana, and of Salvador, in addition to the palaces of mixed use as official residence and home orders, such as the Palace of the Governors in Ouro Preto, the Palace of Pará Governors and the Palace of the Viceroys in Rio, which was one of the residences of the reigning family when she moved to the colony in 1808. Others survive, but their Baroque characteristics have been greatly disfigured by later reforms, as was the case with the Governors of Maranhao and Bahia. Although belonging to the Church, the important Archiepiscopal Palace of Salvador should be included in this category.
The mining case
Mines had the peculiarity of being a more recent settlement area, and it was possible to build on more up-to-date aesthetics, in the case of Rococo, and with more freedom, a profusion of new churches, without having to adapt or remodel older buildings already established and still in use, as was the case on the coast, which makes them exemplary with regard to stylistic unity. The set of churches in Minas Gerais has a special importance both for its richness and variety and for being a testimony of a very specific phase in Brazilian history, when the region was the “little girl of the eyes” of the Metropolis for its large deposits of gold and diamonds.
The architecture of Minas Gerais is interesting because it is generally carried out in a rugged terrain, full of hills and valleys, giving an attractive shape to the urbanization of the cities. But this is not what makes Minas special, since civil construction follows formal models common to all Brazilian colonial architecture. However, the mining case has the attraction of being the first nucleus in Brazil of an eminently urban society. Several of the old colonial cities of Minas Gerais still have rich architecture of the time. The historical centers of Ouro Preto and Diamantina are Patrimony of the Humanity; many others also preserved rich churches and houses. In any case, its distinctive stylistic features are most clearly expressed in religious architecture, in the churches that proliferate in large numbers in all these cities. According to Telles, the originality of the building of the Sacra Minera is in two elements:
“The combination of curves and lines or planes, creating points and edges of contention, in plants, elevations and internal spaces;
“The organization of the frontiers having as its center of composition the portal carved in soapstone, portals that constitute, visually, in nucleus, from which derive the other elements: pilasters, columns, cimalhas, pediment, and to which they converge.
However, such elements only came to an end near the end of the cycle. At the beginning of the century the churches still derived their plans from the flat architecture, with rectangular design, austere facade and triangular pediment, exemplified model in the Cathedral of Mariana. Pedro Gomes Chaves introduced in 1733 important innovations in the Matrix of the Pillar in Ouro Preto, with a facade in disjoint planes and a rectangular plant, but whose carving redefined the internal space in the form of a decagon. From the 1750s it is the façade of the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus de Matosinhos. Its frontispiece made from soapstoneis considered the first Brazilian example of this decorative solution, possibly by Jerônimo Félix Teixeira. Today a World Heritage Site, the shrine is distinguished mainly by its scenic and monumental implantation, still sheltering the largest and most important group of sculptures by Aleijadinho.
In the second half of the century the Carmo Church of Ouro Preto was built, with an innovative façade composition: the frontal plane gave way to a wavy wall, with curved wall towers and a three- lobed door. Traced by Manuel Francisco Lisboa, the father of Aleijadinho, his plan was changed in 1770 by Francisco de Lima Cerqueira. Aleijadinho carved the cover. Aleijadinho, along with Cerqueira, would become the most important architects of the Brazilian Baroque, and his works synthesize most of the novelties that distinguish the Baroque / Rococo of Minas Gerais. In fact, the contribution of Cerqueira, long obscured by the great fame of Aleijadinho, has recently been reassessed, giving it an importance possibly greater than that of the other in the field of architecture. The Church of São Francisco in São João del-Rei is the work of both, with a nave with sinuous walls with a profile that approaches the one of a lyre, cylindrical towers and a monumental churchyard. Most famous and most original is the Church of San Franciscoin Ouro Preto, whose project is by Aleijadinho. Its façade is marked by three-dimensionality, with a strongly projected central volume, limited by columns instead of the usual pilasters, which connects to the plane of the towers by curved walls, as well as replacing the oculus with a relief and originally integrating the cylindrical towers body of the building, resulting in a set that is considered a jewel of harmony between exterior and interior. His image has already become iconic, possibly being the most well known baroque church in Brazil and abroad. Even more daring and unprecedented in both Brazilian and Portuguese architecture is the Rosário dos Pretos Church in Ouro Preto, attributed to Antônio Pereira de Sousa Calheiros, with a plant composed of three linked ellipses, a half- cylinder facade with a galilee of three arches, and cylindrical towers. According to IPHAN, “the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary is considered by experts as the ultimate expression of Baroque colonial mining”.
Despite all the innovations, elements of the English or Mannerist architecture would remain alive for a long time. For Sandra Alvim, ” Mannerist architecture has great penetration, roots and becomes a formal prototype. As regards plants and facades, it guides the rigid character of the works until the nineteenth century, ” and the vision of John Bury,
“Parallel to the brief flowering of the ‘Aleijadinho style’, the previous style continued to be practiced, little influenced by the Rococo innovations. The basic conventional pattern of the Minas church, with its facade and adjacent towers, remained more or less constant during these two centuries. Until the middle of the eighteenth century, at least, the treatment was Mannerist in the Jesuit style, and despite the emergence of the brilliant Rococo, which eclipsed the earlier style in the main urban centers of the province during the last quarter of the eighteenth century, the severity and monotony of Mannerism continued to exert strong influence over the less ambitious buildings of that era. These characteristics reassumed a predominant role in the traditional style adopted for the construction and reconstruction of churches, which occurred on a large scale during the Empire. In Ouro Preto itself, the capital of Minas Gerais, the city where Aleijadinho was born and the center of the development of a variant of the Rococo style that received its name, is a rustic version of the Mannerist architecture that is presented with more insistence, evidenced with clarity, despite the disguises, in the most imposing facades of the city”
The role of the Catholic Church
In Europe, the Catholic Church was, alongside the courts, the greatest patron of art in this period. In the immense colony of Brazil there was no court, the local administration was confused and time-consuming, and thus a vast social space remained vague for the action of the Church and its missionary entrepreneurs, standing out among them the Jesuits, who administered beyond the divine offices a series of civil services such as birth and death records, were at the forefront of the conquest of the interior of the territory serving as peacemakers of indigenous peoples and founders of new settlements, organized much of the urban space on the coast and dominated teaching and social assistance by maintaining colleges and orphanages, hospitals and asylums. Constructing large, luxuriously decorated temples, ordering musical pieces for worship and dynamising immensely the cultural environment as a whole, and of course dictating the rules in the thematic and manner of depicting the characters of Christianity, the Church centralized Brazilian colonial art, with a rare profane expression. In Brazil, then, almost all baroque art is religious art. The profusion of churches and the scarcity of palaces proves it. Also remember that the Catholic temple was not only a place of worship, but it was the most important space of fellowship of the people, a center of transmission of basic social values and often the only relatively safe place in the often turbulent and violent life of the Cologne. Gradually there was a shift in this equilibrium towards a secularization, but it did not come to be completed during the period of the Baroque. Lay institutions began to have a greater weight around the eighteenth century, with the multiplication of demands and administrative instances in the colony that developed, but did not constitute a great market for artists, there was no time. The civil administration only gained strength with the arrival of the Portuguese court in 1808, which transformed the institutional profile of the territory.
Just as in other parts of the world where it flourished, the Baroque was also in Brazil a style driven largely by religious inspiration, but at the same time it placed great emphasis on the sensoriality and richness of materials and forms, in a tacit and ambiguous agreement between glory spiritual and pleasure of the senses. This pact, when conditions allowed, created some works of art of enormous richness and formal complexity. An entrance to one of the main temples of the Brazilian Baroque is enough for the eyes to suddenly lose themselves in an explosion of shapes and colors, where the images of the saints are framed by glimmers, caryatids, angels, garlands, columns and carvingsin volume such that in some cases they do not leave a square foot of space in sight without decorative intervention, with gold covering walls and altars. As Germain Bazin said, “for the man of this time, everything is a spectacle. ”
In the perspective of the time, this decorative prodigality was justified: the religious educated the people towards the appreciation of the abstract virtues, seeking to seduce him first by the corporeal senses, especially through the beauty of the forms. But so much wealth was also considered a tribute due to God, by His own glory. Despite the Protestant denunciation of the excessive luxury of Catholic temples, and the recommendation of austerity by the Council of Trent, practical Catholicism ignored the restrictions. Indeed, the Council itself, summoned essentially to plan the struggle against the Protestant advance, orchestrated, mainly through the Jesuits, an aggressive proselytizing campaign through art, making it more attractive to popular taste by satisfying its needs of comprehensibility, touching its passions, hopes and fears, adding a systematic doctrinal character, and also introducing new themes, new representative modes and a whole new style. These factors created a cultural project that in addition to having pedagogical refinements was in the various arts a watershed and promoted the emergence of a cornucopiaof masterpieces, anticipating a real immersion of the public in environments where it would receive a massive bombardment of varied sensorial, intellectual and emotional stimuli, among which were the sacred narratives painted on the canvases, the great and poignant music, the flickering of the candles plucking mystical reflections of gold on the rich hovels, the pious staging of mysteries, the “miraculous” statues promising the believers’ fortunes and intimidating sinners, the scent of incense to create a suggestive atmosphere, liturgies in chorus, festive processions with fireworks and the sumptuous ceremonies, the rhetorical sermons, all in tune, understanding that art “can seduce the soul, disturb it and enchant it in the depths not perceived by reason, let this be done for the sake of faith. ” Such a program, based on a speech by strong scenic and declamatory sense, expressing itself full of allegories and wordy descriptions, and calling for intense emotions, translated plastically in extreme complexity, strong contrasts and dynamism of the baroque artistic forms in all countries where the style prospered, since it was the visible expression of the intricate, paradoxical and dramatic spirit of the time.
In Brazil colony the Protestant threat did not exist, but its people included a majority of heathen- the blacks and Indians – and so the model was still valid: it had to be a seductive and didactic art, so that the pagans would be attracted and converted, and the silly whites and infants, well illustrated; would be for all a means of education, imposing on them beliefs, traditions and models of virtue and conduct. At the same time, it would strengthen the faith of those who already had it, stimulating its perfection. In colonial society, where there were insurmountable gaps between social classes, where slavery prevailed, and the Indians and Negroes, in practice and with rare exception, were not considered human beings but mere private property, an instrument of exploitation and a source of profit, a unified religion also served as a form of cushioning these grave inequalities and tensions, enabling the colonizing power to control them better,social and political status quo. As explained Alfredo Bosi,
“In the bowels of the colonial condition, a rhetoric was conceived for the masses, which could only assume in the great allegorical schemes the doctrinal contents which the acculturating agent had set out to instil.” The allegory exerts a singular power of persuasion, often terrible for the simplicity of its images and from the uniformity of the collective reading, hence its use as a tool of acculturation, hence its presence from the first hour of our spiritual life, planted in the Counter-Reformation that united the ends of the last Medieval and the first Baroque. ”
In addition to the beauty of the forms and richness of materials, during the Baroque, Catholicism emphatically used the emotional aspect of the cult. Love, devotion, and compassion were visually stimulated by the representation of the most dramatic moments in sacred history, and thus the fanned Christs abound, the virgins with the heart pierced with knives, the bloody crucifixes, and the pathetic images of rock, true puppets articulated, with hair, teeth and royal clothes, which were carried in solemn and feeder processions where there were no lack of tears and physical mortifications and sins were confessed with a loud voice. Religious festivities were, in fact, more than a form of pious expression; they were also the most important moments of collective socialization in colonial life, often extending into the private environment. The intensity of these events was recorded in many period accounts, such as that of Father Antônio Gonçalves, who participated in a Holy Week procession in Porto Seguro:
“I have never seen so many tears in Passion as I have seen in this, because from the beginning to the end it was a continuous cry and there was no one who could hear what the priest said. self-flagellations) there were about five or six people who were almost dead, who for a great deal of space did not return to themselves…. And there were people who said they wished to go in part where they did not see people and do their whole life penance for their sins “.
This was not an isolated example; on the contrary, the Baroque Catholic mentality was especially fond of exaggeration and drama; it believed in miracles and devotion to relics and saints was a general practice, often mingling with superstitions and highly practical heterodox, sometimes learned from the Indians and Negroes, which the clergy had great difficulty in curbing, always fearing that the faithful would turn to witchcraft, which the reports of the Visitors of the Inquisition claimed to happen everywhere, even among the clergy themselves ignorant. As Luiz Mott stated,”In spite of the concern of the Inquisition and of the actual legislation itself, prohibiting the practice of witchcraft and superstition, in ancient Brazil, in every street, town, rural neighborhood or parish, there were the mourners, healers and soothsayers rendering such valued services to the neighborhood”. But this same mystic and passionate devotion, which so often worshiped the tragic and the bizarre and drew dangerously close to heresy and irreverence, also embodied countless scenes of ecstasy and celestial visions, Madonnas of naive and youthful grace and perennial charm, and sweet boys Jesus whose appeal to the simple heart of the people was immediate and highly effective. Again Bazin grasped the essence of the process:
“Religion was the great principle of unity in Brazil, and it imposed on the various races here mixed, each bringing a different psychic universe, a world of basic mental representations, which easily overlapped the pagan world in the case of Indians and blacks, through hagiography, so adequate to open the way to Christianity to those originating from polytheism. ”
Source from Wikipedia