184th Anniversary of the Birth of António José da Costa

8 de February, 2024

A private teacher of Henrique Pousão, João Marques de Oliveira and Artur Loureiro, António José da Costa was born on 8 February 1840 in Porto.


At the age of 12, he enrolled in classes at the Associação Industrial Portuense, where he was a drawing student of António José de Souza Azevedo. This teacher, upon discovering his artistic talent, convinced his father to enrol him at the Academia Portuense de Belas Artes.


In this Academy he studied Drawing, Historical Painting and Civil Architecture (1853-1865). He was a pupil of Tadeu de Almeida Furtado (Drawing) and João António Correia (Painting) and his painting was compared to that of two masters of Spanish Baroque, Ribera (1591-1652) and Murillo (1618-1682).


At the beginning of his career he painted portraits and landscapes, which he signed with the name António José da Costa Júnior. However, it was his still life paintings and compositions of flowers, especially camellias, which began around 1890, that made him well-known.

At the end of the 19th century, he witnessed the introduction of naturalist painting in Porto and, unlike other romantic artists, decided to follow the example of the new generation.


António José da Costa helped create the Centro Artístico Portuense. He collaborated with Arte Portuguesa, the first national magazine dedicated exclusively to the fine arts, for which he produced illustrations. He was one of the promoters of the Exposições d’Arte held in Porto between 1887 and 1895, together with Marques de Oliveira, Marques Guimarães and Júlio Costa.


In 1921, and in fulfilment of a personal vow, he produced a panel for the church in Ramalde depicting the Adoração do Santíssimo Sacramento (Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament). In his later years, he continued to receive drawing and painting students as well as being visited by former disciples such as Artur Loureiro.


António José da Costa died in Porto in August 1929. Several of his works are part of the collection of the Soares dos Reis National Museum.


Image text: Oil on wood Lilacs and roses (1920), António José da Costa @Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis

Cover image: Portrait of António José da Costa (1921), by Júlio Costa @Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis