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Clarival Do Prado Valladares

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Medicine, history and art



Clarival Do Prado Valladares

Article available in: PT-BR ESP

Last update: 30/09/2013

By: Lúcia Gaspar - Librarian of the Fundação Joaquim Nabuco

[...] Clarivalknew poetry, art, literature, science. It was that collection of knowledge that made him an extraordinary figure. [...]
Roberto Burle Marx, 1991.

Clarival do Prado Valladareswas born at 81 Poeira St in Salvador, Bahia, on 26 September 1918, to the dignified Bahian doctor and chair professor Antônio Prado Valladares and Clarice Santos Silva Valladares.

His rather uncommon name was the result of the fusion of his mother’s name Clarice, with Val, from his father’s surname.

Clarivaldid his primary education in Salvador, moving while still young to Recife, where he completed secondary school and began his tertiary studies in Medicine.

At the beginning of the 1930s, he and his oldest brother José were sent to Recife as a preventative measure, as his father had contracted tuberculosis. At their arrival in the city, the were received by psychiatric doctor Ulysses Pernambucano, who put them up in his home, together with his two sons Jarbasand José Antônio.

Living with the friends as family of Ulysses allowed them to meet renowned intellectuals and artists like Joaquim Cardozo, Cícero Dias – whose workshop in a dwelling on the banks of the Capibaribe Riverthey started to visit – Gilberto Freyre and Roberto Burle Marx. The latter, who had assumed the position of Director of Parks and Gardens in Recife, became very close friends with Clarival, despite being sixteen years older.

In an article published in the newspaper Diario de Pernambuco on 29 May 1983, Gilberto Freyre spoke of Recife’s influence on Clarival:

[...] Recife predisposed Clarival Valadares to the main characteristics of his industrious and fruitful future:his social way of being a doctor; his passion for the visual arts; his like for honest research that shielded him from being an office intellectual; his capacity to make the most of contact with poor, humble, and coloured Brazilians; his joy in extracting knowledge from un-doctored knowledgeable people. [...]

In 1938, with the death of his father – which happened in Sanatório de Correias (RJ) – he returned to Salvador, where he finished his university course at the Bahia Faculty of Medicine, graduating in 1941 and moving to Rio de Janeiro, the capital do Brazil at the time.

In the same year, he married Erica, daughter of Emilio Odebrecht, in Rio de Janeiro, albeit only in a civil ceremony. He had contracted tuberculosis, at the time a serious illness. The religious ceremony was only celebrated five years later at the São Bento Monastery in Salvador. They had one daughter: KátiaValladares.

In 1952, he returned to Salvador to defend his doctoral thesis at the Federal University of Bahia. He had a great collaborator in his wife. It was she who helped him in the research for his thesis, Riscadores de milagres (Scribes of Miracles), which dealt with the ‘ex-votos’ (offerings) at the Bonfim Church. It caused great controversy, and was very difficult at the time to approve a work with this focus as a doctoral thesis in Medicine.

Forever torn between medical science and his passion for the history and art of Bahiaand the Northeast, in the mid-1950s, Clarival travelled to the United States to do a post-graduation in Pathology at Harvard University, and in Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), both in Boston.

On his return to Brazil in 1956, he became the chair professor of Pathologic Anatomy at the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA), through a public contest.

In 1962, due to his knowledge in the field of arts, he was appointed by the congregation of the UFBA’s School of Fine Arts to teach Art History at the university.

In 1963, he returned to live permanently in Rio de Janeiro.

For a long time he contributed as an art critic to theJornal do Brasiland was editor of the series ‘CadernosBrasileiros’ (Brazilian Notebooks), as well as being part of various Brazilian artist selection commissions for national and international biennials.

He was part of the Nation Fine Arts Commission from 1964 to 1967, also working for various institutions, such as the National Service of Historical and Artistic Patrimony and the Federal Council of Culture.

With studies and works in the areas of medicine, history and art, as well as countless prefaces, presentations and introductions for works and artists’ catalogues, he left an extensive bibliography:

• Paisagem rediviva (Revived Landscape) (1962);
• Agnaldo Manoel dos Santos: origin, revelation and death of a primitive sculptor (1963);
• Portinari (1965);
• Di Cavalcanti (1966);
• Riscadores de milagres (Scribes of Miracles) (1967);
• Guignard (1967);
• Arte e Sociedade nos Cemitérios Brasileiros (Art and Society in Brazilian Cemeteries) (1972, 2v.);
• Presciliano Silva: um estudo biográfico e crítico (Presciliano Silva: a biographical and critical study) (1974);
• Teatro Amazonas: restauração e recuperação (Amazonas Theatre: restoration and recuperation) (1974);
• Memória do Brasil: um estudo da epigrafia erudita e popular (Memory of Brazil: a study of erudite and popular epigraphy) (1976);
• The impact of African culture on Brazil(1977);
• Rio Barroco (Baroque Rio de Janeiro) (1978);
• Rio Neoclássico (Neo-classical Rio de Janeiro) (1978)
• Lula Cardoso Ayres: revisão crítica e atualidade (Lula Cardoso Ayres: critical revision and today) (1978);
• Aspectos da Arte Religiosa no Brasil: Bahia, Pernambuco, Paraíba (Aspects of Religious Art in Brazil: Bahia, Pernambuco, Paraíba) (1981);
• Albert Eckhout: pintor de Maurício de Nassau no Brasil 1637/1644 (Albert Eckhout: Maurice of Nassau’s painter in Brazil 1637-1644) (1981);
• Nordeste Histórico e Monumental (Historical and Monumental Northeast) (1982-1991, 2 v.).

In the 1960s and 1970s, he held various iconographic exhibitions: A Arte Cemiterial Brasileira (Brazilian Cemetery Art),at the Galeria Goeldi (Rio de Janeiro), under his ownership (1968); Do Barroco Nordestino ao Sertanista (From Northeast Baroque to the Semi-Arid Man), at the National Museum of Fine Arts (1970); Arte Genuína Brasileira (Genuine Brazilian Art), at the 3rd Triennial of Inherent Art in Bratislava, Slovakia (1972); O Negro na Formação e na Cultura Brasileira (Black People in the Formation of Brazilian Culture), in African countries through an initiative by the Ministry of Foreign Relations (1972); Revelação Ótica do Barroco Mineiro (Optical Revelation of Minas Baroque), at the National Museum of Fine Arts (1973); Análise Iconográfica da Pintura Monumental de Portinari nos Estados Unidos (Iconographic Analysis of the Monumental Painting by Portinari in the United States), at the National Museum of Fine Arts (1975); The Impact of African Culture on Brazil, at the 2nd FESTAC in Lagos, Nigeria (1977), and Tempo e Lembrança de D. Pedro II (Time and Memory of Pedro II), at the National Museum of Fine Arts, in commemoration of the sesquicentennial of the Brazilian emperor’s birth (1977).

Clarival do Prado Valladares passed away in 1983, in Rio de Janeiro.

In 2003, the Clarival do Prado Valladares Award was created by Odebrecht in his honour, which according to the company is an incentive to Brazilian historiography and aims to enrich the country’s documental archive of facts, processes and people whose memory should be preserved and divulged.

Recife, 26 october 2010.
Translated by Peter Leamy, February 2012.


sources consulted

AZEVEDO, Carmen Lucia. O legado de um olhar apaixonado. Disponível em:  <>. Acesso em: 21 out. 2010. 

CLARIVAL do Prado Valladares (1918-1983). Disponível em: <>. Acesso em: 20 out. 2010.

CLARIVAL do Prado Valladares [Foto neste texto]. In: VALLADARES, Clarival. Obra seleta. Salvador: Fundação Cultural do estado da Bahia, 1983. 

FREYRE, Gilberto. Meus caros colegas do CFC. Diario de Pernambuco, Recife, 29 de maio de 1983.

MARX, Roberto Burle. Prefácio. In: VALLADARES, Clarival do Prado. Nordeste histórico e monumental.  Salvador: Odebrecht, 1991. v.4, p.11-14.

MENEZES, Rogério. Erica do Prado Valladares: “Tudo o que aprendi na vida, aprendi com Clarival”. Disponível em: <>. Acesso em: 21 out. 2010.

SANTOS, Paulo. Prefácio. In: VALLADARES, Clarival do Prado. Nordeste histórico e monumental. Salvador: Odebrecht, 1983. v. 3, p. IX-XIII

how to quote this text

Source: GASPAR, Lúcia. Clarival do Prado Valladares. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Joaquim Nabuco Foudation, Recife. Available at:  <>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 Aug. 2009