Congonhas is a small historical city at 75 km south of Belo Horizonte, along the ‘Estrada Real’ to Rio de Janeiro. The city is well known for the statues of Brazilian artist Aleijadinho.
The prophets by Aleijadinho: prophet Isaías (Isaiah).
Isaias (Isaiah, ‘God is salvation’) probably belonged to a rich family. He is considered as one of the most influential prophets, since he predicted the arrival of the Messiah. Isaiah was married with a prophetess, and died a martyr’s death.
The prophets (with clickable links),from left to right (names in Portuguese):
Statues of twelve prophets carved from soap stone are located in frond of Santuário do Bom Jesus Matosinhos. Aleijadinho had sculpted them between 1795 and 1805.
Isaías, Isaiah in English, means ‘God is salvation’. Not much is known about his origins and life in the eight century B.C., although certain sources suggest that the prophet (not a son of prophet Amos!) belonged to the wealthy families in Jerusalem. It is known that he was married with a ‘prophetess’, and two children who had prophetic names. In that era, following the death of king Jeroboam II, Israel and Judea were suffering internal revolutions and invasions by neighboring kingdoms.
Isaías is considered as the most influential prophet of the Old Testament. He predicted the arrival of the Messiah, for instance. Isaías had not died in peace, but had died as a martyr: according to a number of sources, he was sawed in half.
Isaías’ statue shows a man in advanced age, with a large beard and long hair. The prophet wears a short tunic, with his trousers put inside his boots. A large cape covers his tunic.
On the shield that Isaiah is holding, one can read the following motto:
Ssent, a Seraph/
Est Labris For/
(Depois que os serafins celebraram o Senhor, um deles trouxe aos meus lábios uma brasa com uma tenaz. Isaias cap.6).
(Thereafter, the seraphins worshiped the Lord, one of them put a piece of glowing charcoal into my mouth)
Anatomically, the statue of Isaías, that consists of two pieces of soap stone, some minor errors. The ratio between the trunk and the extremities is not correct, since the arms and legs are too long. On the other hand, the facial expressions have been sculpted by Aleijadinho himself: an clear expression of the eyes, as it was taken during a vision of the prophet.
By Dr. Adriano Antoine Robbesom
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