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Life in the countryside: Chopping tobacco. Caipira picando fumo, (1893).

José Ferraz de Almeida Júnior (Itu, São Paulo, 8 May 1850 – Piracicaba, 13 November 1899) was a Brazilian painter of the 19th century. He is widely regarded to be the most important Brazilian realist painter from the 19th Century, and a major inspiration for the Modernists painters. While most Brazilian Academic Artists made their fame painting Mythological or Historical subjects Almeida Junior would become popular for painting rural figures, specially farmers and the caipira, the countrymen that is a kind of a symbol of the rural areas of the São Paulo State.

While most realistic painters used farmers and countrymen as an allegory of workers Almeida Junior would paint his caipiras mostly on leisure time. He would also produce touching images of upscale landowners. The Bandeirantes, the ruthless explorers of Colonial Brazil would be depicted on the "A partida da monção", showing an expedition on the Tietê River.

Almeida Junior was born in the city of Itu, then a small town in the state of São Paulo. After becoming a sensation in his town he would be invited to study in the Brazilian Imperial Fine Arts Academy of Rio de Janeiro, but in 1876, he would study in France, after being granted a scholarship by emperor Pedro II of Brazil in person in the city of Moji-Mirim. He would have Alexandre Cabanel as one of his masters.

He admired the French realistic and naturalist painting (a major influence at his work), and, after returning to Brazil, in 1882, he become of the leading names of realism in Brazilian painting.

He was stabbed to death by his mistress husband on November 13th, 1899.

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