221º Anniversary of birth of Fonseca Pinto

20 de December, 2023

Manuel da Fonseca Pinto was born on 20 December 1802 in Marco de Canaveses.


In Porto, he attended the workshop of the sculptor João Joaquim and classes in drawing, French and 1st year Maths at the Royal Academy of Marine and Commerce in the city of Porto. In 1827, as part of the Drawing course tutored by Professor Raymundo Joaquim da Costa and substitute João Baptista Ribeiro, he was awarded 1st prize.


Manuel da Fonseca Pinto quickly won favour in the city and his works became well known.

He was the author of the sculptural decoration for the Royal Schooner of D. Miguel, and carved figures and ornaments for the stern, bow and saddlebags of sailing ships built at the Ouro shipyards in Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. He drew and lithographed portraits of political celebrities and produced miniatures.


He took part in several exhibitions at the Academia Portuense de Belas Artes, where he presented works such as Venus lying down (1854), O tempo (1863), Viriato swearing on the corpse of a young woman in the eternal war against the Romans (bas-relief 1866), the Bust of the Count of Samodães (1874, pictured) and the self-portrait of King Pedro IV on horseback (fired clay and bronze, 1878).


In parallel with his artistic career, he developed educational activities. In 1834, he was appointed substitute professor of the Drawing Class at the Royal Academy, although he was removed from this position by the decree of 19 October 1836 due to his refusal to swear to the Constitution of 1822. In 1840 he was appointed to serve on an interim basis in the Chair of Drawing at the University of Coimbra, attached to the Faculty of Mathematics.


In 1842, he was appointed a Sculpture lecturer at the Academia Portuense de Belas Artes, where he was Soares dos Reis’s master. He directed the Academy (1864-1882) and retired in 1880. He died on 5 October 1882.




Photo Credits

On the cover: Miniature portrait (tempera on ivory) of Manuel da Fonseca Pinto, c. 1851, by Francisca de Almeida Furtado. In the collection of the National Museum of Ancient Art in Lisbon, Portugal.
In the article: Bust of the Count of Samodães, Inspector of the Academia Portuense de Belas Artes (plaster), by Manuel da Fonseca Pinto, 1st half of the 19th century. Collection of the Soares dos Reis National Museum (184 Esc MNSR).