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Porfírio Faustino

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Porfírio Faustino

Article available in: PT-BR

Last update: 23/03/2020

By: Rodrigo Cantarelli - Architect and Museologist at the Fundação Joaquim Nabuco

Born in the city of Canhotinho, in the Pernambuco Agreste (semi-arid zone), Porfírio Faustino was one of the first popular potters viewed as an artist throughout the country. In the 1940s, even before Vitalino, he was already well known for his small sculptures, white with colourful accents, representing everyday scenes and, mostly, typical figures of the celebrations and carnival of the state’s interior.

Married to Ana Faustino, Porfírio had two sons, Israel and Vastir, who were actually the real creators of those sculptures that eventually gave a new panorama to the ceramic vocabulary of Pernambuco, as was proved years later in a study by Hermilo Borba Filho and Abelardo Rodrigues. Porfírio, according to interviews with his children, worked only with utilitarian pottery and some toys, such as horses and oxen, and also acted as an intermediary in the sale of pieces produced by his teen sons.

Israel, as an adult, followed his father as a utilitarian potter, abandoning figurative sculptures, and returned to his former interest only to meet an order of Abelardo Rodrigues. However, his sculptures no longer had the features that led to the name of Porfírio being recognised. After getting married at 21, Vastir moved to Recife and gave up being a potter.

The Joaquim Nabuco Foundation (FUNDAJ) today has the largest collection related to Faustino family, with 223 pieces including figurative and utilitarian ceramics made by Porfírio, Vastir and Israel, donated to the Museum of the Northeast Man by photographer Benício Dias, the author of a series of images showing the family workshop and places of production of the pieces. It is available for consultation in the iconography section of FUNDAJ’s Centre for Studies on Brazilian History (CEHIBRA).

sources consulted

ENEIDA: A amiga do folclore. Revista Brasileira de Folclore, Rio de Janeiro, ano 11, n. 29, p. 108-110, jan./abr. 1971.

FILHO, Hermilo Borba; RODRIGUES, Abelardo. Cerâmica popular no Nordeste. Rio de Janeiro: Ministério da Educação e Cultura, 1969.

FROTA, Lélia Coelho. Pequeno dicionário da arte do povo brasileiro. Rio de Janeiro: Aeroplano. 2005.

how to quote this text

Source: CANTARELLI, Rodrigo. Porfírio Faustino. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Joaquim Nabuco Foundation, Recife. Available at: <>. Accessed: day month year. Ex. 6 ago. 2009