LISBOA, Antonio Francisco
(b. ca. 1738, Vila Rica, d. 1814, Vila Rica)


Brazilian sculptor and architect, son of the Portuguese architect Manuel Francisco Lisboa (active 1728-1767). He was born in Brazil of a black slave mother. A strange disease that caused the shriveling of his hands and feet earned him the nickname of 'o Aleijadinho' (the little cripple). He built churches (church of Sao Francisco), carved altarpieces, and created wood and stone sculptures. He reformed the wood-carving, modifying its Baroque exuberance, and he brought a new purity to architecture by reverting to the concept of harmonious space. He was also the author of much excellent statuary in the pathetic style of the great Baroque works of the past. The polychromed wood Stations of the Cross in the sanctuary of Congonhas do Campo were carved between 1796 and 1799. The twelve stone prophets in front of the Congonhas do Campo sanctuary are his masterpieces.