Ernesto do Canto Faria e Maia, born in Ponta Delgada, Azores, in May 1890, best known by his artistic name, Canto da Maia or Canto da Maya, was a sculptor who, at his time, reached a high rank amongst his pears, nationally and internationally. He stands to be an introducer of the 'figurative modernism' and a patron of the decorative arts.
Initially he was a follower of Art Déco, but later on this tendency gave way to a nationalist academic one. Although still keeping some modernist bond his works started revealing a strong, ideological presence, visibly influenced by the definition of the ‘colonial heroes breed’ which was promoted by “Estado Novo”.
Grupo Escultórico D.Manuel I com Vasco da Gama e Pedro Álvares Cabral- com 3 m de altura), de 1940, reviewed by the art critics as the best sculptural work exhibited at the great 1940 “Exposição do Mundo Português”.
By 1920, Canto da Maya sets off to Paris where he stays until 1937 and during this period he partakes numerous exhibitions such as the Paris 1925 International Decorative Arts Exhibition where he is awarded a gold medal for two of his works: «A Virgem e o Menino» e «A Virgem Louco». He was also part of the group of artists present at the Contemporary French Art Exhibition which took place in 1926, in Osaka, Tokyo.
At this point he produced mainly decorative works which reveal his urban and cosmopolitan Art Déco taste and simultaneously an interest for the so called ‘the private life’.
From this period we find works such as. Bendito o fruto do vosso ventre (1922) ....
...or Adão e Eva (1929)
Ernesto da Maya led a full life. He is known as the “Portuguese sculptor of the Silence”. Canto da Maya passed away in 1981, at the age of 90, in his hometown, Ponta Delgada, in Azores.
We can find some of his work at Museu Nacional do Azulejo... Eva
... or just the road from the our university campus to the Campo Grande Gardens!
... Mulher ao Espelho
Have a stroll down and Check it out!