House of Father Toledo (Tiradentes Museum)

House of Father Toledo (Tiradentes Museum)

Tiradentes, Minas Gerais, Brazil


The houses in Tiradentes are mostly single-storey residences that are extremely simple in appearance. There are, however, some imposing buildings, such as the former residence of Father Carlos of Toledo. A native of the town of Taubaté (São Paulo), he was vicar of the parish of Santo António in the town of São José from 1777 to around 1789, when he became involved in the Inconfidência Mineira rebellion and was subsequently tried and condemned to exile, remaining imprisoned for some time in the Fortress of São Julião. The house, which dates from the second half of the 18th century, reflects the high social and cultural standing of its owner, who owned rich mines on the outskirts of the town and was a highly cultured man with a vast library. Made of grouted and whitewashed stone masonry, the building features cornerstones and a cornice as well as door and window frames with sculpted decorations. The turret, the highest part of the building, which had been thought to date from a later period, in fact already existed in 1789, when the vicar’s estate was confiscated because of his participation in the conspiracy. Eight of the 14 rooms in the house have gamela ceilings with rococo paintings. Notable artworks include the allegorical depiction of the five senses (a common theme in decorative paintings from this period) with figures taken from Greek mythology, and the paintings of Brazilian fruits in the dining-room. The building was the seat of the Municipal Council and the Prefecture and was listed by IPHAN in 1952. In 1963, it became a diocesan seminary and in 1971 underwent a major remodelling to house the Tiradentes museum.

Cláudia Damasceno Fonseca