Sante Scaldaferri was born in 1928 in Salvador, Bahia. After various cultural pursuits including editing the journal MAPA, he took an arts course at the School of Fine Arts at the Federal University Bahia. On graduating in 1957 he was apprenticed to Mario Cravo Junior and had his first exhibition. That same year he joined the School of Theatre UFBA to study set design which he then under took in a number of films.
His painting reflects the lives of the people of the North East, including Brazilian themes of religiousness and popular culture. Since 1957 he has used Brazilian ex-votos [votive offerings] in his paintings as symbolic icons of Brazilian cultural identity. Since 1980, the ex-votos took on the human condition to express character traits,and he has used an encaustic painting technique having original ex-votos and other materials stuck to the painting. He died in 2016 in Salvador, Bahia.