201th Anniversary of birth of João António Correia

26 de December, 2023

Today marks the 201st anniversary of the birth of João António Correia, who stood out as a professor and director of the Academia Portuense de Belas Artes, whose students included Soares dos Reis, Marques de Oliveira, Silva Porto and Henrique Pousão.


João António Correia was born in Porto on 26 December 1822. In this city, he began studying drawing and maths at the Polytechnic Academy, where he was a pupil of João Baptista Ribeiro and Roquemont, and then attended the Academia Portuense de Belas Artes between 1839 and 1843, learning linear perspective, artistic anatomy and historical painting.


Recognising his artistic qualities, some friends offered him the chance to leave for Paris. He arrived there around 1848, studying for seven years with Horace Vernet, Delaroche and Ingres. After this long stay in France, he returned to Oporto and in 1856 applied for the vacant post of Professor of Historical Painting at the Academia Portuense de Belas Artes. He was first appointed to the chair, then he combined it with the position of Director of the Academy.


A good draughtsman and an excellent pedagogue, he had a great influence on the education of his pupils, including Soares dos Reis, Marques de Oliveira, Silva Porto and Henrique Pousão.


Having witnessed in France and Portugal the movements that marked the break with academic forms of teaching, João Correia, although a sympathiser, was little influenced by them. He adhered to the spirit of romanticism, but remained faithful to a classical conception of art.

With a great knowledge of drawing techniques expressed in a constant concern for the “balance of proportion and line”, he proved to be more of a draughtsman than a painter. He was also an excellent portrait painter. The value that João António Correia placed on drawing as the basis for training any artist, regardless of their vocation, combined with a critical and demanding yet liberal spirit, allowing his pupils to develop their personal qualities, earned him a beneficial professorship that exerted considerable influence on both his generation and those that followed.


Not limiting his work exclusively to portraits, he also tackled other themes such as historical, religious and still life painting, albeit on a smaller scale. He took part in several triennial exhibitions at the Academia Portuense de Belas Artes and the Sociedade Promotora de Belas Artes.


Image: Oil on canvas The Black Man, João António Correia, 1869, presented in the long-term exhibition