A Florada (The Flowering)

Serra Negra, State of São Paulo, Brazil
Oil on canvas
98 x 147.5 cm
Acervo Museu Paulista/USP
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As the cultivation of cash crops in South and Central America grew in the nineteenth century, many land owners commissioned “portraits” of their farms or haciendas. Intended to reflect their own wealth and status, these paintings also depicted the abundance of natural resources available. These bucolic paintings often minimized the signs of productivity, belying the backbreaking labor—often performed by slaves—necessary to cultivate and harvest crops for profit. A Florada is one of six paintings commissioned by the Brazilian landowner and planter Eduardo da Silva Prates, Conde de Prates, to document the various processes involved in the production of coffee at his Santa Gertrudes farm.