The Ricardo Brennand Institute (in Portuguese Instituto Ricardo Brennand, IRB) is a cultural institution located in the city of Recife
. It is a not-for-profit private organization, inaugurated in 2002 by the Brazilian collector and businessman Ricardo Brennand. It comprises a museum, an art gallery, a library and a large park.
The Institute holds a permanent collection of historic and artistic objects of diversified provenience, ranging from Early Middle Ages to 20th century, with strong emphasis in objects, documents and artwork related to Colonial and Dutch Brazil, including the World
's largest assemblage of paintings by Frans Post.
The Institute also houses one of the largest collections of armory in the world, with 3,000 pieces, the majority of which produced in Europe
between the 14th and 19th century. The library has over 62 thousand volumes, ranging from 16th to 20th century, including a collection of brasiliana and other rare items.
Building and park
The Institute is headquartered in a castle-like set of structures, named "Castelo de São João",designed after the Tudor style, with a total gross area of 77,000 square meters. It's a contemporary construction, blended with some original elements, such as a drawbridge, reliefs of coats of arms and a Gothic altarpiece brought from Europe.The complex consists of the Museum of Armory, an art gallery, a library, an auditorium and areas for public services and technical/administrative rooms.
The complex is surrounded by a vast garden, with an area of 18,000 hectares,endowed with artificial lakes and a number of large-size sculptures, such as The Thinker, by Auguste Rodin, The lady and the horse by Fernando Botero, and other works by Sonia Ebling, Leopoldo Martins, etc.
The Ricardo Brennand Institute holdings comprise collections of painting, sculpture, armory, tapestry, decorative arts and furniture, with objects ranging from Early Middle Ages to the 20th century, proceeding from Europe, Asia, Americas and Africa
The collection of armory, specialized in melee weapons, is among the largest of its kind in the world.It comprises nearly 3,000 objects, the majority of which produced in England
. The collection includes weapons used for hunting, battling (offensive and defensive), exhibition and decoration. One of the highlights is the set of 27 full plate armors (i.e., including shields, helmets, gauntlets and chain mails) produced between the 14th and the 17th centuries, as well as armors for dogs and horses.
The assemblage of Medieval and melee weapons includes daggers, stilettos, swords, maces, flails, halberds, crossbows, knives, pocketknives and other objects produced between the 15th and the 21st century. Among them, a large number of pieces richly decorated with semi-precious stones, ivory, horns, nacre, oak, steel and other materials stand out. The collection also includes exhibition knives and pocketknives produced by Joseph Rodgers & Sons Ltd., a traditional British cutlery, established in Sheffield in 1724.
Decorative arts, furniture and tapestries
The collection of decorative arts includes objects from Europe, Asia and Africa, dating back to the 17th century, such as candlesticks, candelabra, jugs, mosaics, stained glass windows, miniature caskets, Chinese ceramics, musical instruments, etc.There is also an assemblage of longcase clocks of Austrian and French origin, including a Planchon clock with porcelain dial and equinox-inspired decoration. Among the most valuable works in this collection is also an Italian Baroque organ produced by Domenico Mangino.
The Ricardo Brennand Institute houses one of the most comprehensive collections of historical and iconographic documentation related to the 17th century period of Dutch occupation of Brazilian Northeast. Outstanding among these objects is the world's largest ensemble of paintings by Frans Post, the first landscapist of the New World. The Institute holds 15 of Post's paintings, which is equivalent to 10% of the artist's known output.
It is the only collection that covers every phase of Post's oeuvre.Of particular importance is the canvas View of Fort Frederick Hendrik, painted by Post in Recife in 1640, which is the only of the seven remaining paintings produced by Post while he was still in Brazil that is currently housed in a Brazilian collection (the other six are distributed among the Louvre, the Mauritshuis and the Cisneros collection).Among the set of 17th century Dutch paintings, there are also oil portraits of John Maurice of Nassau by the workshops of Pieter Nason and Jan de Baen.
The visual arts collection comprises paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings dating back to the 15th century, executed by Brazilian and foreign authors, aside from those mentioned in the preceding topics. The Brazilian art is mostly represented by landscapes, as well as for a significant set of brasiliana (artistic–historic registers about Brazil produced by foreign artists), with predominance of iconography related to Pernambuco and Rio de Janeiro.
It includes artworks by Emil Bauch, Louis Schlappriz, Franz Heinnrich Carls, Franz Hagedorn, Claude François Fortier, Johann Moritz Rugendas, Jean-Baptiste Debret, Nicolas-Antoine Taunay, Henri Nicolas Vinet, Nicola Antonio Facchinetti, Giovanni Battista Castagneto, Eliseu Visconti, Jerônimo José Telles Júnior, Benedito Calixto, Carlos Julião, etc.
The Ricardo Brennand Institute's Library focuses on history of Dutch Brazil and was projected to shelter more than 100,000 volumes. It currently houses over 62,000 items, such as books, pamphlets, magazines, newspapers, sheet music, phonograph records, photographs, iconographic albums and rare works.The library collection was formed through acquisitions of private ensembles belonging to Brazilian academics and researchers, such as José Antônio Gonçalves de Mello Neto, Edson Nery da Fonseca and Jaime Cavalcanti Diniz.
The collection of rare books comprises itens ranging from 16th to 20th century, with special emphasis in works about Brazil written by European travelers. Among the highlights, a 1586 edition of Jean de Léry's History of a Voyage to the Land of Brazil, a 1593 edition of Theodor de Bry's Dritte Buch Americae, a very rare 1648 hand-coloured edition of Willem Piso and Georg Marcgrave's Historiae Naturalis Brasilae, a 1647 coloured edition of Caspar Barlaeus's Rerum per Octennium in Brasilia, etc.