Wikipedia Article: Church of Saint Francis of Assisi (Ouro Preto)

For my Wikipedia entry, I hope to expand upon the current “Church of Saint Francis of Assisi (Ouro Preto)” article. While completing my research proposal on the sculptor and architect Aleijadinho, I found the page for this church which was one of his primary works. Sadly, the current page just exists. Wikipedia is questioning its notability based on a lack of secondary sources, as the entire article is based on only one source. There is nothing more than a brief outline of where the church is, who it was built by, and its major features. Note, none of these components are detailed sections, but mere mentions of each as the whole page is only five sentences long. At the very least, I would like to add sections on the architect, Aleijadinho; the baroque style of the church; and the most prominent architectural features, statues, paintings, and carvings.

Ouro Preto is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for primarily due to its baroque architecture. It also has a rich history as a major mining town in colonial Brazil, which played an important role in the colonial economy. This church is important to Brazilian history and culture because it is a well preserved example of colonial Portuguese architecture. It, along with the artwork inside, are examples of the baroque revival style (also known as rococo or late baroque) which draws from the wealth gained from gold mining in the eighteenth century. This church is evidence of the colonial economy and importance of the Church in Brazil and, therefore, is worthy of a Wikipedia page that outlines its historical and architectural significance.

There is significant scholarship on Ouro Preto, the baroque revival style, Aleijadinho, and this specific church, all of which will contribute to this article. The only content on the talk page of the article is a correction to the one and only external link last August (2017). So, there is currently not any published plan to update or expand the article. It is currently considered a stub-article by Wikipedia which means that it provides some information but is wholly incomplete and far from sufficient coverage of the topic, but has potential for expansion. With my preliminary research, there appear to be enough secondary sources to produce a significantly more developed and complete article with enough verifiable information to merit its own space on Wikipedia.

Wikipedia Link:

UNESCO classification:

Secondary Sources:

Bury, J. B. “The ‘Borrominesque’ Churches of Colonial Brazil.” The Art Bulletin 37, no. 1 (1955): 27-53. 

Castriota, Leonardo. “Living in a World Heritage Site: Preservation Policies and Local History in Ouro Preto, Brazil.” Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review 10, no. 2 (1999): 7-19. 

Luiz Gonzaga Teixeira. “Ouro Preto: Brazil’s Monument Town.” Ambio 12, no. 3/4 (1983): 213-15.

Reily, Suzel Ana. “Remembering the Baroque Era: Historical Consciousness, Local Identity and the Holy Week Celebrations in a Former Mining Town in Brazil.” Ethnomusicology Forum 15, no. 1 (2006): 39-62.

Smith, Robert C. “The Colonial Architecture of Minas Gerais in Brazil.” The Art Bulletin 21, no. 2 (1939): 110–59.

2 thoughts on “Wikipedia Article: Church of Saint Francis of Assisi (Ouro Preto)

  1. Jack Hyman

    A description of this particular church’s role in the religious communities of Ouro Preto and Brazil, e.g. rough attendance estimates and historical events occurring at or near the location, would make a valuable edition to this article along with your planned expansions upon the information already provided. However, it would also be perfectly understandable if the building were only notable due to its baroque style and well-preserved state. Since the Church is sometimes begrudged for its use of some raw materials mined by enslaved or otherwise exploited workers in the colonial era – and the wealth that this labor helped to generate – it would be fascinating to learn to what extent the clergy within Ouro Preto benefited from or took definitive stances on the use of slave labor.

  2. Andrew Aldridge

    I’m very interested to see what your research reveals because I don’t think we’ve focused on religion a lot in class. It also sounds like you’ve identified a good variety of sources. Can’t wait to see how things turn out!

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