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O poder da arte: o Estado Novo e a cidade universitária de Coimbra ("The Power of Art: the New State and the Coimbra University Campus")


Author: Nuno Rosmaninho
Language: Portuguese
ISBN: 972-8704-55-0
Digital ISBN: 978-989-26-0377-3
Publisher: Coimbra University Press
Edition: 1.ª
Date: 2006
Price: 35,00 €
Size: 240 mm x 170 mm
N.º Pages: 410


The construction of the Coimbra University Campus between 1941 and 1975 involved a profound urban intervention that is clearly marked as the product of the Salazar regime, so much so in fact that it is difficult to exaggerate its significance. Like the law courts, it is one of the best architectural expressions of the power of the “New State”, which clearly reveals how the heritage may be used for propaganda purposes. However, a closer look reveals the sometimes unsystematic action of official bodies, while its critical reception suggests that the capacity for indoctrination was minimal. Coimbra University Campus should best be understood within the context of totalitarian art, despite its apparent contradictions. Careful study has confirmed the extent to which it differs from other architectural models and highlights the divergences existing within the New State as to the importance of architectural nationalism and the means for achieving them. The predominance of monumental classicism did not preclude the late emergence of modernism or the flourishing of pseudo-vernacular models in neighbourhoods built to rehouse the displaced and other secondary works. The statuary, which resembles that produced by authoritarian and totalitarian regimes in its statism, academic sobriety and allusions to Antiquity, is underpinned by a naturalism that is simplistic and generally conventional. As for the murals, these celebrate moments from history, national heroes and knowledge.