Brazil: after the looting in Brasilia, enormous damage to heritage

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The pro-Bolsonaro who invaded the places of power in Brasilia ransacked everything in their path, including priceless works of art. The Institute of National Artistic Historical Heritage (Iphan) “deeply deplored the damage caused” during this attack.

Damaged canvases, tagged statues, smashed Louis XIV pendulum… Several priceless works of art were ransacked by the Bolsonarists during their assault on places of power, Sunday January 8.

The three vandalized buildings, the Planalto Presidential Palace, the Supreme Court and the seat of Congress, are treasures of modern architecture by Oscar Niemeyer. The futuristic constructions with the emblematic curves of this brilliant architect are for many in the classification by Unesco of the urban fabric of the Brazilian capital as World Heritage of Humanity, in 1987.

Each of the three buildings, of which an impressive amount of windows were broken, was also full of rare furniture, works by great Brazilian modernist artists or others donated to Brazil by foreign countries.

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In a press release, the National Artistic Historical Heritage Institute (Iphan) “deeply deplored the damage caused” and assured that an expertise would be carried out soon to “assess the restoration needs”.

The statue of “La Justice” tagged

The granite statue “La Justice”, sculpted in 1961 by the Brazilian Alfredo Ceschiatti, sits in front of the Supreme Court, on the Place des Trois Powers, opposite the presidential palace.

This monumental work of more than three meters high represents a seated woman, blindfolded, a sword in her hand.

She was tagged on Sunday with the inscription “Perdeu, mané” (“you lost, poor idiot”) on the chest.

This expression was used by a judge of the Supreme Court, Luis Roberto Barroso, to address a Bolsonarist who challenged him on the reliability of electronic ballot boxes in November, shortly after the defeat of Jair Bolsonaro against Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in the second round of the presidential election.

A Louis XIV clock without a dial

A clock made by Balthazar Martinot, watchmaker to the King of France Louis XIV, of Boulle marquetry, was found on the ground, on the third floor of the Presidential Palace, the very damaged brown and gold chest, a gaping hole in place of the dial.

According to the Presidency, it was a gift from the Court of the Sun King to the Portuguese crown, brought by King Joao VI to Brazil in 1808, when he had fled Lisbon at the approach of Napoleonic troops.

Only two clocks of this type have been made by this watchmaker: the other, which is half the size of the one damaged in Brazil, is on display at the Palace of Versailles.

The restoration of the example of Brasilia is considered “very difficult” by Rogerio Carvalho, responsible for the heritage of the Presidential Palaces, quoted in a press release.

A lacerated painting by a great painter

The painting “The mulattoes”, by the painter Di Cavalcanti, one of the masters of Brazilian modernism, exhibited in the Noble Hall on the third floor of the Presidential Palace, was seriously damaged.

The canvas dating from 1962, which represents four women in an exuberant plant decor, was “stabbed seven times” by rioters, according to the Presidency.

“Its value is estimated at 8 million reais (about 1.4 million euros), but this kind of work is usually sold for five times more at auction.”

A historic table used as a barricade

The “work table of Juscelino Kubitschek”, the visionary former Brazilian president behind the construction of Brasilia, the capital built ex nihilo in the middle of the savannah and inaugurated in 1960, was also damaged.

This dark brown table, designed by Oscar Niemeyer and his only daughter Anna Maria, was knocked down and used as a barricade by rioters to block access for law enforcement, according to the Presidency.

Bolsonaro plans to return to Brazil earlier than expected

Jair Bolsonaro said in an interview with CNN Brasil that he could return to Brazil earlier than planned to consult his doctors, while he was hospitalized in Florida on Monday. The former Brazilian president was admitted to an Orlando hospital with stomach pains from the stabbing he suffered during the 2018 election campaign.

Jair Bolsonaro said he originally planned to stay in the United States until the end of January but now plans to return to Brazil earlier than planned. “I intend to bring forward the date of my return because, in Brazil, the doctors are already aware of the intestinal disorders I have been suffering from since the knife attack,” he said.

With AFP

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