Carnival (or Seahorse, as it was originally called) was commissioned from the Brazilian painter Cândido Portinari to decorate the rooms of Rádio Tupi in Rio de Janeiro, along with seven other panels.
In 1949, the radio station suffered a fire which destroyed part of the decoration. The two surviving panels were given to the Portuguese State in 1951 by Assis Chateaubriand. One of the paintings went to the Soares dos Reis National Museum and the other to the Museum of Contemporary Art – Museu do Chiado.
Seahorse represents a festival typical of the Pernambuco region, celebrated on Three Kings’ Day. The theme was part of a programme commissioned by Assis Chateaubriand, celebrating Brazilian culture or defining “Brazilianness”, focused on a specific political ideology that reinforced the role of the “black man”, the “indigenous man” and the “white man” in the formation of Brazilian society.
On the cover: Self-portrait, Cândido Portinari, 1957 @Projeto Portinari
In the text: Carnival, Cândido Portinari, 1942, Soares dos Reis National Museum collection