(b Belas, 1769; d Lisbon, 1841).
Portuguese sculptor. He was probably trained by his father, a stone mason employed at the Palacio Nacional de Queluz, near Lisbon. In 1784 João Aguiar went to the drawing school of the Casa Pia do Castelo, Lisbon, and in 1785 to Rome on a scholarship from the Intendência with the support of D. I. de Pina Manique (1735–1805). There he studied drawing with Tomaso Labruzzi, modelling with Giuseppe Angellini (1735–1811) and then moved to the workshop of Antonio Canova. Aguiar’s first recorded works made in Rome were Cippus, Aeneas and Creusa (1792–3; Lisbon, Pal. Belém Gdns) and a portrait medallion of Giovanni Antinori (1792; untraced), Professor of Architecture at the Academia de Portugal in Rome, which is known from an engraving (1792) by João Caetano Rivara (studying in Rome, 1788–99).
In 1794 Pina Manique was engaged on a project to erect a monument to Queen Mary I that would also celebrate the achievements of Portuguese artists who had received scholarships to study in Rome. After finding that Canova and the Genoese Nicolò Stefano Traverso would be too expensive, he turned to Aguiar for the statues and bas-reliefs and to ...