An historical study of the impact of political power and ideology on art education in Portuguese elementary and secondary schools from 1761 to 1974.
This research, based mainly on the analysis of primary sources, sets out to investigate and explain relationships between political power and ideology, and art education in Portuguese elementary and secondary schools, in their historical context. The following key turning points have been identified: 1895: Moniz' secondary education reforms substituted 'fine art' principles for existing utilitarian principles based on the' values of an industrial society, in the drawing syllabus;
1918: during the Republican period, observational drawing began to replace the copying of pictures in elementary schools;
1947: 'expressive' activities were first included in the syllabus; 1970: the first edition of 'Caderno do Professor' was published. An analysis of the evidence reveals that there were times in Portuguese history when the impact of political power influenced the changes in the teaching of drawing/art, notably during the industrial revolution and later, in the twentieth
century, under Salazar's rule. Influences ora socio-economic nature and of educational theory had a greater impact on the content and direction of the art curriculum than those of an openly and explicit political or ideological nature, although it is not intended to suggest that such socio-economic and theoretical influences can be regarded as non-ideological. During the nineteenth century socio-economic influences were
evident when the acquisition of drawing skills was considered important to enable citizens to implement the new social reality of the industrial revolution. Influences of a political or ideological nature were openly visible only from 1926
to 1974, when Portugal was ruled by Salazar and his followers.
F or elementary schools, it is impossible to suggest a rationale which underpins the teaching of drawing/art before 1919, in view of the scarcity of data and because of the inadequate educational provision at this level. During the
Republican period (1910-1926), ideological influences from the regime led to the
development of a rationale based on 'aesthetic education'. Impact on public schools proved to be minimal; only outside the mainstream of public education, is there discernible evidence of innovative teaching. From 1926 to 1974, overt political influences reduced elementary school activities to the 'three R's', with the consequent near exclusion of drawing/art teaching at this level. However, between 1928 and 1937, a rationale based on nationalist values influenced what
little art education there was. For secondary schools, only after 1836 can it be said that the teaching of drawing
was afforded a permanent place; it has been impossible to identify a clearrationale for the period prior to that. Between 1836 and 1895, the rationale was inspired by vocational objectives: the need to train a skilled workforce. Between
1895 and 1926, there were few significant changes in the rationale, despite the prevailing ideological influences of the Republican rulers. The curriculum remained largely concerned with meeting the industry'S need; geometric drawing, useful in industrial design contexts, therefore predominated. Between 1926 and 1947, under the early years of the dictatorship, the influence of ideology on the rationale for art education in the secondary school was evident in the espousal of nationalist values, but this emphasis gradually decreased. There is evidence of some interference in the school drawing curriculum, but otherwise political intervention was largely concentrated on the Mocidade Portuguesa, the Portuguese Youth Movement, where artistic themes were chosen for their nationalistic flavour. Current research into developmental psychology was applied to the study of children's drawing development and these ideas
slowly began to impact on the rationale adopted by teachers of drawing/art. From 1947 to 1970, such ideas had increasing influence on the curriculum, now more appropriately described as 'art education', in that it valued 'free expression' and took more account of prevalent theories of child development. This was despite the Portuguese Youth Movement continuing to promote the production of artwork / art products based aroun~ nationalistic themes in its classes.