Accepted Paper:

The modern Pierrot: Commedia dell'Arte in Brazilian illustrated magazines (1900-1925)  


Felipe Correa (King's College London)

Paper short abstract:

The paper will discuss the visual strategies adopted by early twentieth-century Brazilian illustrated magazines to cater for a mass readership. I will focus specifically on the use of Commedia dell’Arte characters as symbols of the combination of popular entertainment and modern art.

Paper long abstract:

From a structure dependent upon local consumers in the late nineteenth century, magazines became consolidated in the beginning of the twentieth century in Brazil as media enterprises focused upon consumers nationwide. This new model of magazine publishing was to become more apparent at the beginning of the 1900s, especially with regard to magazines with a considerable focus on graphic arts, photography, and popular literature. One of the first successful illustrated magazines was O Malho, launched in 1902, followed by many others, including Fon-Fon in 1907, and Careta in 1908.

Conducted on business lines from its very beginning, these magazines lasted for more than five decades surviving the competition with cinema in the 1920s and radio in the 1930s and 1940s, but not with television in the 1950s.

Appealing not only to the cariocas but, more emphatically, to a wide and diverse range of readers who wanted to be in contact with the current events in Rio visually, these magazines depicted new ways of seeing in Brazil.

The paper will discuss the visual strategies these magazines adopted to cater for a mass readership. I will focus specifically on the use of Commedia dell'Arte as a symbol of the modern imagination, combining entertainment and complex artistic expressions. The paper will include analysis of the magazines' representations of characters such as Pierrot, Columbine, Harlequin, and their connections with modernity and popular culture.

Panel P11
Visuality, illustrated popular magazines and modernity in Latin America