Antonio Francisco Lisboa
also known as Aleijadinho
Arguably the most famous Brazilian architect predating Oscar Niemeyer, Antonio Francisco Lisboa or Aleijadinho ("little cripple") practiced as a sculptor and architect in the Baroque style. Born in Vila Rica, Brasil, he was born to a carpenter father who was later regarded as an architect since his skill was so highly in demand in the country. It was from his father that he would learn the practice of architecture as well as sculpting while working on constructing the churches his father would design and build. Not too long after, Aleijadinho would start designing churches himself while utilizing his sculpting ability by carving some of the relief and figures himself.
While practicing, Antonio Francisco Lisboa would develop a debilitating disease (either leprosy or scleroderma, a build up of scar tissue in the skin]). From this, Lisboa would inherit another name:" O Aleijadinho or "The Little Cripple". But despite this setback, Aleijadinho would find other ways of sculpting without being able to use his fingers. A popular method was to tie hammer and chisel to his fingerless hands. Not much is known about him after the disease became worse except that he became a hermit and rarely went out. But he did still work. And whenever he needed a breath of fresh air, his servants would carry him in a covered palanquin through the streets.
His style consists of mixing various types of Baroque architecture. While his interiors are stunning still, its his design of the facade that is the most effective part of his work. For example, Sao Francisco de Assisi Church in Ouro shows cylindrical towers with bulbous crowns that are not found in any other form of architecture at that time. The different ways he is able to combine foreign Baroque architecture into one structure makes it both unique while at the same time appropriate for the period.