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The Politician

Besides the paintings and drawing and poetry projects, Candido Portinari made an effort to be a politician.

Candido Portinari: the politician

The year of 1945 is marked by the defeat of nazi-fascism and consequently the strengthening of democratic ideas. In Brazil, these ideas produce a broad popular movement, which aims at two basic points: amnesty and elections. The crisis of the New State is evident.

The Brazilian Communist Party (PCB) is the only organization that, even in clandistinity, identifies with the resistance against dictatorship and ideas of freedom and speeds up a great part of this process. Artists and intellectuals gather around his transforming proposals.

The PCB (Communist Brazilian Party) launches their own candidate to the Presidency of Republic and gathers the highest possible number of well-known and prestigious names for the Constituent Assembly.

That is how Portinari, Jorge Amado, Caio Prado Júnior and others integrate their slates of candidates in the States. The elections are held in December and the PCB elects a senator (Luiz Carlos Prestes) and 14 house representatives, among which Jorge Amado. Portinari is not elected.

In the 1947 elections, he is a candidate again running for a seat in the Senate. From the beginning of the ballot count, Portinari’s name seems to be confirmed. Nevertheless, he is not elected by a small difference, which puts the honesty of the elections in check. In May, the Electoral Superior Court cancels PCB’s registration and the party returns to clandistinity.

The increase in the persecution of the communists leads Portinari to travel to Uruguay in a voluntary exile.

In May 1951, the artists launch their support to the citizens arrested or persecuted for “offense by opinion”, among which Portinari, who never left the Communist Party, although he left partisan politics in the last years of his life.

Interview of the Poet and Friend Vinícius de Moraes (1953)(1953)

Vinícius de Moraes e seu retrato pintado por Portinari

Vinícius de Moraes and his portrait painted by Portinari


– How did you reach your political position?


– I don’t intend to understand politics. I reached my convictions, which are deep rooted, due to my poor childhood, my life of work and struggles, and because I am an artist. I feel sorry for those that suffer and would like to help remedy the existing social injustice. Any consciencious artist feels the same way…