245 years since the Oporto Drawing and Sketching Class

12 de March, 2024

The Drawing and Sketching Class was the first manifestation of artistic education in the city of Porto, the first of institutions such as the Academia Portuense de Belas-Artes (Porto Academy of Fine Arts), the Escola Superior de Belas Artes do Porto (Porto School of Fine Arts) and the current faculties of Architecture and Fine Arts at the University of Porto.


A few years after the creation of the Nautical Classroom (1762), the Administrative Board of the Companhia Geral da Agricultura das Vinhas do Alto Douro asked the King to create another teaching establishment – the Drawing and Sketching Classroom – which was instituted by the Decree of 27 November 1779, which also appointed the first “lens of the Classroom”, António Fernandes Jácome.


He was succeeded by the painter Vieira Portuense, who was appointed on 20 December 1800. After three years, he became the establishment’s director, succeeded by José Teixeira Barreto, Raimundo José da Costa and, later, Domingos Sequeira.

The teaching provided at this class was especially aimed at the piloting course, although there were also concerns about the manufacturing industry, which was growing in Porto.


The class was mainly attended by young noblemen, but also by merchants, manufacturers, artists, officers, apprentices and sailors who found there the necessary training to “draw machines and instruments; to draw geographical and topographical maps of countries, plans of cities, ships, etc.”.


The Drawing and Sketching Class functioned at the College for Orphan Boys, under the administration of the Companhia Geral da Agricultura das Vinhas de Alto Douro, until 1802. In that year, it was transferred to the Hospice of the Religious of St Anthony due to the large number of students attending.



Image: Manuel da Silva Godinho (engraving); Teodoro de Sousa Maldonado (drawing), Porto, 1789

Text adapted from SANTOS, Cândido dos – Universidade do Porto: raízes e memória da Instituição. Porto: UP, 1996.