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Felicidade Ramos

King Pedro IV orders the creation of the Museum of Paintings and Prints

11 de April, 2024

On 11 April 1833, a decree was issued to the painter João Batista Ribeiro (pictured) informing him of the intention of His Imperial Majesty Pedro de Bragança to create a Museum of Paintings and Prints and other Fine Arts objects in the city of Porto.

 

The museum was set up in the extinct Convent of Santo António da Cidade, in Praça de S. Lázaro, and became known as the Ateneu D. Pedro IV, which gave rise to the Soares dos Reis National Museum.

 

João Batista Ribeiro, a figure of liberalism in Porto, was appointed Director of the Museum in 1836, inaugurating the exhibition Creation of the Museu Portuense: with official documents to serve the History of Fine Arts in Portugal, and that of the Siege of Porto. For his work as director of the Museum until 1839, he was considered a pioneer of Museology.

 

Painter, draughtsman, engraver and director of the Polytechnic Academy of Porto, João Batista Ribeiro was a pupil of Domingos Sequeira, who declared him his favourite disciple. Appointed cultural agent for the city of Oporto, he organised academies, museums, associations and coordinated the collection of assets from abandoned convents. It was with this collection that the first Portuguese public museum was created: the Museum of Painting and Engraving, later transformed into the Soares dos Reis National Museum.

 

João Batista Ribeiro’s oeuvre is essentially centred on large-scale portraits and religious paintings, which can be seen in various churches and museums across the country.

In 1839, the Museum was taken over by the Director of the Academia Portuense de Belas Artes, who organised a series of exhibitions that honoured notable artists such as Soares dos Reis, Silva Porto, Marques de Oliveira and Henrique Pousão, in successive generations of masters and disciples.

 

With the proclamation of the Republic, it was renamed the Soares dos Reis Museum in memory of one of the most outstanding names in Portuguese art, and in 1932 it became a National Museum.

Siza Baroque programme opens with Souto de Moura conference

10 de April, 2024

Eduardo Souto de Moura is the guest speaker at the first conference of the Siza Baroque Programme, developed by the Centre for Architecture and Urbanism Studies at the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Porto. The conference is scheduled for 20 April at the Soares dos Reis National Museum.

 

The Siza Baroque Programme opens with a conference by Eduardo Souto de Moura and runs throughout the year with the participation of the project’s researchers and consultants. It also includes an exhibition at the Soares dos Reis National Museum and a closing concert, with a ‘baroque-contemporary’ composition (like Siza’s work), at the Clérigos Tour by Nasoni.

 

The Siza Baroque research project is in its final phase, and the dissemination of the research results has been designed for a wide audience through a diverse programme open to the city of granite, according to Siza, “of ‘old gold’ or ‘bluish’.”

The links between Álvaro Siza’s architecture and the Baroque are present in various authors who have written about Siza, as well as in the way he himself, referring to Porto, and to Nasoni, in his own written texts, announces his interest and commitment to learning more about Baroque architecture and the city.

 

This programme includes a series of events that cross and intertwine Siza’s architecture, Nasoni’s architecture, gilded woodcarving, Baroque-contemporary music, etc.

 

On 12 September, the Soares dos Reis National Museum opens the Siza Baroque exhibition, which will run until 31 December, placing it side by side with ancient art and Fernando Távora’s project for the Museum.

 

Admission is free to all events, subject to capacity.

‘A Magazine’ dedicates new edition to Vila Viçosa, Pousão’s birthplace

10 de April, 2024

Marking the 140th anniversary of the death of the artist Henrique Pousão, ‘A Magazine’, a Portuguese magazine about art, culture and heritage, will launch its new edition on 12 April at the Cordoaria Nacional, as part of the LAAF – Lisbon Art and Antiques Fair.

 

This new edition pays particular attention to Vila Viçosa, Henrique Pousão’s birthplace, and includes texts by António Ponte, Director, and Ana Paula Machado, Painting Collection Manager at the Soares dos Reis National Museum.

 

Considered one of the greatest names in Portuguese painting from the second half of the 19th century, Henrique Pousão attended the Academia Portuense de Belas-Artes and was a state pensioner in France and Italy.

In the collection of the Soares dos Reis National Museum, the oeuvre of Henrique Pousão is strongly represented, in particular the artworks The White Houses of Capri (Casas Brancas de Capri), Lady in Black (Senhora Vestida de Preto) and Windows with Blue Shutters (Janelas das Persianas Azuis), paintings classified as national treasures.

 

‘A Magazine’ is the result of a successful application for Creative Entrepreneurship Support from the Magallanes ICC, the Magellan Centre for Entrepreneurship in the Cultural and Creative Industries.

 

According to its editorial, “A Magazine communicates the various dimensions of cultural heritage, the performing, visual and popular arts, handicrafts, archaeology, wine tourism and gastronomy, music, literature, and contemporary values, creating knowledge and recognition of them”.

Almada Negreiros: a unique figure in the Portuguese artistic panorama

7 de April, 2024

Born on April 7th 1893, Almada Negreiros was one of the leading figures of the first generation of Portuguese modernism. He started out as a caricaturist, but it was primarily as a poet that he took part in Lisbon’s Futurist movement.

 

In 1915, he took part in the genesis of a landmark magazine for Portuguese literature – the Orpheu magazine – with which he collaborated, alongside Fernando Pessoa, Mário de Sá-Carneiro, Amadeo de Souza Cardoso and other names in literature and the arts.

 

Essentially self-taught (he didn’t attend any art school), his precociousness led him to devote himself to humour drawing from an early age. But the notoriety he acquired at the start of his career is primarily associated with his writing, whether it be interventionist or literary.

In 2017, the Soares dos Reis National Museum, in collaboration with the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, hosted the exhibition “José de Almada Negreiros: drawing in motion“. Curated by Mariana Pinto dos Santos, the exhibition brought together 90 artworks revealing the importance of cinematographic language in his artistic work.

 

Several of the artworks selected were initially in the exhibition “Almada Negreiros. A Way of Being Modern” which, at the beginning of that year, occupied various spaces in the Gulbenkian Museum and the Foundation’s programme in Lisbon.

 

In the majority of Almada Negreiros’ work, his desire to tell stories with images is clearly visible, many of them with hints of humour, both in series of drawings and in works integrated into buildings and even tapestries. Fascinated by the possibility of bringing drawings to life and putting them in motion, Almada Negreiros often intended to experiment with animation but never realized his wish.

 

The combination of cinema and drawing appears in works such as the magic lantern La Tragedia de Doña Ajada (1929) and the drawn film O Naufrágio da Ínsua (1934), works specifically designed for public presentations on cinema screens, real or imagined. The hybridity between drawing and cinema is also expressed in some of his literary, poetic and essayistic texts, where both plastic and cinematographic intersections can be seen.

 

“José de Almada Negreiros: drawing in motion” was on display at the Soares dos Reis National Museum between the 30th of November 2017 and the 18th of March 2018.

António Ponte marks three years as Director of the Museum

1 de April, 2024

Having taken up his duties on April 1st, 2021, António Ponte marks, this Monday, his third anniversary as the Director of Soares dos Reis National Museum.

 

“It has been a term marked by a profound restructuring of the institution, with the highlight being the full re-opening of the Museum, with the inauguration of the renovated long-term exhibition, which took place on April 13th of last year”, underlines António Ponte.

The Soares dos Reis National Museum is a cultural and artistic institution of reference, owner of a collection of international dimensions, thus, the action of the last triennium has been conducted towards “affirming the Museum as a place for the construction of meanings from its collections, a place of belonging and identity promoting reflection, creativity, and contemporary critical thinking.”

 

On the other hand, António Ponte adds “an intense and qualified program of temporary exhibitions has been promoted, along with a renewal in education services and work that solidifies the Museum’s approach to external communities”. The programs ‘Other Places’, ‘Art & Health’, and ‘Neighbours’ consolidate the strategic vision of opening the Museum to networks of community proximity.

 

Alongside these processes, the continuation of the internal procedures renewal, training and team reinforcement has been ensured, always aiming to provide an increasingly consolidated quality service to the Museum’s audiences.

 

It is worth noting that the Soares dos Reis National Museum ended the year 2023 with a total of visitors exceeding 74,500 entries, which represents a record attendance for the past five years.

155th Anniversary of the Birth of sculptor Augusto Santo

1 de April, 2024

A naturalistic and symbolist sculptor, who signed his artworks as Augusto Santo, had a brief and troubled career. A constantly dissatisfied man, Augusto Santo destroyed part of his sculptural production.

 

Born in Coimbrões, Vila Nova de Gaia, on April 1, 1869, he attended the Porto Academy of Fine Arts between 1882 and 1889, being a fellow student and rival of António Teixeira Lopes (both enrolled on October 20, 1882).

 

In 1891, Augusto Santo acquired the tools of the deceased master Soares dos Reis, before continuing his studies in Paris, where he settled for three years, enjoying a private subscription from the benefactor Joaquim Fernandes de Oliveira Mendes.

In Paris, he settled in Rue Denfert-Rochereau, where other Portuguese artists such as Teixeira Lopes, the son, resided. He contacted the Parisian artist Alexandre Falguière (1831-1900) and various compatriots, including writers Eça de Queiroz (1845-1900) and António Nobre (1867-1900), painters Carlos Reis (1863-1940) and Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso (1887-1918), and the historian and art critic José de Figueiredo (1872-1937).

 

In 1893, with the end of financial support and lack of results, Augusto Santo was forced to return to Portugal. He then began working in his studio in Coimbrões and frequented the cafés of Praça Nova in Porto, where he met intellectuals like Pádua Correia and Manuel Laranjeira, who described him as a sad face, a sleepwalking misanthrope in the crowd.

 

Among the few surviving artworks from the destruction, the sculpture “Ismael” stands out, a final proof of his course at the Porto Academy of Fine Arts, dated 1889. The original, in plaster, is preserved at the Soares dos Reis National Museum, where the bronze cast is exhibited.

 

Augusto Santo died at Santo António Hospital in Porto on September 26, 1907, a victim of tuberculosis.

Alexandre Herculano: one of the greatest defenders of national heritage

28 de March, 2024

Portuguese writer, historian, journalist and poet, Alexandre Herculano was born on 28 March 1810. He is the author of the poem “Tristezas do Desterro” (Sorrows of exile), which inspired António Soares dos Reis to create “O Desterrado” (The Exiled), the most prominent sculpture in the collection of the Soares dos Reis National Museum.

 

He is represented in the sculpture collection of the Soares dos Reis National Museum by a plaster bust by Anatole C. Calmels, dated 1879.

 

Alexandre Herculano was one of the greatest defenders of national heritage and is therefore the patron saint of National Historic Centres Day, which was created in 1993 and is celebrated annually on the 28th of March. The date is intended to recall the importance of historic centres as elements of culture and heritage with a high historical value.

He is considered the father of Portuguese historiography and his poems and novels make him a key figure in romanticism. Hetook part and founded several cultural and news magazines and newspapers.

 

Herculano learnt the rudiments of historical research outside the academic circuit, which he was forced to abandon for economic reasons. Due to his opposition to Miguelism, he was forced into exile, first in England and then in France, where he came into contact with the artworks of the foreign historians, novelists and poets who would have a great influence on his future oeuvre. In 1832, he landed in Mindelo with the liberal troops and participated in the defence of Porto.

 

The most significant part of Alexandre Herculano’s literary work is concentrated in six prose texts, mainly dedicated to the genre known as historical narrative. This type of narrative combines the erudition of the historian, necessary for the meticulous reconstitution of the environments and customs of past eras, with the imagination of the literary writer, who creates or expands plots to compose his storylines.

In the Holy Week, we highlight Scenes of the Passion and Christ Crucified

28 de March, 2024

Throughout its history, the Soares dos Reis National Museum has brought together collections from different origins, periods and places of production. This diversity has to do with a European tendency to consider Heritage in a multidisciplinary way, linking Painting and Sculpture with the Decorative Arts.

 

The evolution of religious sculpture in Europe, since the mid-Middle Ages, reflects the rapprochement between the believer and the Divine through the humanisation of works of art. Solemn representations of Christ and the Virgin gradually gave way to expressions of greater humanity.

 

The representation of the crucified Jesus Christ is a recurring theme in the Catholic religion, due to the relevance of this episode and the symbolism of the cross, manifesting Christ’s suffering but also his salvation. He is traditionally depicted with his arms and legs stretched out and nailed, following the shape of the cross itself.

 

From the Soares dos Reis National Museum’s long-term exhibition, we highlight two reference pieces this Holy Week: The Crucified Christ and the series of enamel plaques depicting scenes from the Passion of Christ.

The crucified Christ is one of a small number of wooden Christs on the cross that existed in Portugal between the 12th and 14th centuries and whose quality points to a peninsular production. The origin of this crucified Christ, attributed to the School of Valladolid or Palencia at the Amatller Institute of Hispanic Art, is unknown.

 

The image is articulated at the arms, allowing it to be displayed as a lying-in state on Good Friday. The representation of the suffering Christ (Christus patiens) evolved around the middle of the 12th century in response to a spirituality directed towards the humanisation of Christ, culminating in the Crucifixion.

Série de 26 Placas em esmalte com cenas da Paixão de Cristo

The series of 26 enamel plaques painted on copper depict scenes from the Passion of Christ, reproducing and recreating 24 of the 36 engravings that make up the series called ” Small Passion “, by the German artist Albrecht Dürer, published in 1511. Other enamel plaques depicting scenes from the Small Passion are attributed to the same artist, such as a series from the Wallace Collection, plaques from the Lyon Museum, the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg and the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris, among others.

 

The plaques are not signed or dated, but they are part of a group of pieces attributed to the same workshop in Limoges between 1550 and 1625. In addition to the 26 plaques in the Soares dos Reis National Museum, around 98 plaques are known today (distributed through various European collections), which are thought to have been produced in this workshop, now known by the convention name “Oficina da Pequena Paixão de Santa Cruz de Coimbra” (Workshop of the Small Passion of St Cross of Coimbra).

 

The series comes from the Sanctuary of the Monastery of Santa Cruz in Coimbra, where it had already been in 1752 and from where it was removed in 1834 following the decree to abolish religious orders. The wooden altar element in which the plaques were inserted is still preserved in the sanctuary of the Monastery of Santa Cruz.

Soares dos Reis’ last artwork presented in public

27 de March, 2024

The bust of the actress Emília das Neves was the last artwork that Soares dos Reis presented in public before his death. Started in 1885 (two years after Emília das Neves’ death), the bust was modelled on various photographs of the actress and was completed in 1888, the year the sculpture was inaugurated in the lobby of the D. Maria II Theatre in Lisbon.

 

António Soares dos Reis was an admirer of Emília das Neves, whom he met on stage at the Baquet Theatre, a theatre built between Rua Sá da Bandeira and Rua de Santo António, now Rua 31 de Janeiro, in the city of Porto. The theatre opened in 1859 and was the scene of intense cultural activity until the night of 20 March 1888, when a violent fire broke out during a performance, causing the deaths of 120 people.

Not entirely satisfied with the final result of his work, Soares dos Reis wrote a letter to the Portuguese magazine Occidente, dated 25th December 1888, in which he gave an account of the difficulties he had encountered during the process: “(…) I thank you for your interest in my person and my artistic works, but I cannot consent without protest to the bust of E. das Neves be classified as magnificent, in view of the special conditions that arose during its execution and particularly when it came to modelling it using photographs that were all different from each other and of all sizes”.

 

Emília das Neves de Sousa, ‘Linda Emília’ as she became known, was born in Lisbon in 1820 and was a leading Portuguese dramatic actress during the 19th century, considered the first great female star to emerge in Portugal. She appeared in theatres when she was 18 and was applauded until 1883, the year of her death.

 

“Coming from a humble family, she managed, through the recognition of her exceptional talent, to capture the attention of figures such as Almeida Garrett, Mendes Leal, Rebelo da Silva, or Latino Coelho, who chose her as the protagonist of dramatic texts they authored or translated.” [1]

 

World Theatre Day has been celebrated annually on the 27th of March since 1961, on the initiative of the International Theatre Institute. On this day, the aim is to highlight the importance of theatre in human history and culture.

 

[1] Vasconcelos, Ana Isabel. «A “LINDA EMÍLIA”: páginas esquecidas do teatro português oitocentista», 2017

The daughter of the patron Count of Almedina

22 de March, 2024

Delfim Guedes, a great patron of the arts and vice-inspector of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Lisbon, received the noble title of Count of Almedina after organising the “Retrospective Exhibition of Portuguese and Spanish Ornamental Art”, a cultural event of unavoidable importance for Portugal in 1882.

 

Patron of Artur Loureiro, who portrayed him in 1876, Delfim Guedes paid for Silva Porto’s funeral at his own expense. He had also given him some of his artworks (in his lifetime), such as ‘Pequena fiandeira napolitana’ (Little Neapolitan spinner) and ‘Ao pôr do sol’ (At sunset).

 

His relationship with the authors represented at the Soares dos Reis National Museum also extends to the sculptor António Soares dos Reis, author of the sculpture ‘Filha dos Condes de Almedina’ (Daughter of the Counts of Almedina), a figure of a child with an almost angelic face.

The sculpture, in Carrara marble, represents the ‘Daughter of the Counts of Almedina’, Luísa Guimarães Guedes, whose parents owned the artwork, and is on display at the Soares dos Reis National Museum.

 

The sculpture was presented to Auguste Rodin (considered the father of modern sculpture) during his visit to Portugal, in one of the Duchess of Palmela’s Ateliers (the sculptor Maria Luíza Holstein), where Soares dos Reis occasionally worked during his stays in Lisbon. The quality of the masterpiece impressed and moved Rodin to the point where he kissed the Portuguese sculptor’s hands.

 

Dating from 1882, the evolution of this artwork is documented in drawings and models, revealing the sculptor’s involvement throughout the process. In this final sculpture, the complex elaboration of the modelling should be noted, especially in the hair, flowers and embroidery of the dress. In terms of composition, these are defining features of Soares dos Reis’ very own scheme: the sinuous pose with arms crossing at mid-body of the model, treated in repose, with a reserved expression.

 

Delfim Deodato Guedes (Santo Tirso, 18 November 1842 – Cascais, 26 September 1895) received the title of Count of Almedina from King Luís, and his daughter Luísa Guimarães Guedes was the 2nd Countess of Almedina. The title was awarded to Delfim Guedes in recognition of his support for the “Retrospective Exhibition of Portuguese and Spanish Ornamental Art”. The exhibition took place in the Alvor-Pombal Palace, also known as the Palácio das Janelas Verdes, and laid the foundations for the creation of the National Museum of Fine Arts, inaugurated 140 years ago (predecessor of the current National Museum of Ancient Art).

Redesign of the long-term exhibition is a benchmark for the Museu do Diamante

19 de March, 2024

The Soares dos Reis National Museum will host Juliane Nicolle Câmara, from the Museu do Diamante, for an institutional exchange within the context of the Ibermuseus cooperation program.

 

The Museu do Diamante was created in 1954 and is located in the historic center of Diamantina, in Minas Gerais, Brazil, a World Heritage Site.

 

The mansion that houses the Museu do Diamante was the residence of the priest Rolim, a key figure in the historical movement known as the Inconfidência Mineira. The building is currently closed and is undergoing an architectural restoration and exhibition redesign process aimed at revising the narrative and presenting a more accessible, inclusive, democratic and sustainable museum.

The exchange project to be carried out with the Soares dos Reis National Museum aims to gain a closer and comparative understanding of the recent process of reformulating the long-term exhibition, from a perspective that encompasses the various dimensions of sustainability.

 

Based on this experience, the work to be carried out at the Museu do Diamante will be studied, in the processes of museological reformulation, community participation, educational actions, communication and management.

 

In this 5th edition of the Ibermuseus Training Grants, 20 projects by museum professionals from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Spain, Mexico and Uruguay were selected to receive support from Ibermuseus to carry out the exchange program.

 

About Ibermuseums

One of Ibermuseums’ objectives is to promote the sustainability of Ibero-American museum institutions and processes, given that the issue has been under constant debate on the global political agenda since the 1970s. Currently, this issue is one of the priority tasks for the United Nations (UN) and its States for the next fifteen years, the period foreseen for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG -2030) in each country.

 

The action, which responds to the demand for specific policies for the museum sector, is approached from a multidimensional (social, cultural, economic and environmental) and transdisciplinary perspective, involving different areas of knowledge.

 

The Ibermuseums Program is a cooperation initiative of 22 Ibero-American countries, with a view to promoting and articulating public policies in the area of museums. Portugal is one of the member countries of this program and is part of the group of 11 countries that make up the respective Intergovernmental Committee.

The historic of Miragaia Factory in the city of Porto

18 de March, 2024

Miragaia Factory was founded in Miragaia (Porto) in 1775 by João Rocha (1720-1799), a merchant from Minho who had become rich in Brazil, as part of the reforms of Portuguese industry promoted by the minister Marquis of Pombal. João Rocha’s founding partner was his nephew João Bento da Rocha.

 

The aim of the entrepreneurs was to manufacture objects similar to those that Portugal was importing at the time from other European countries and China.

 

In 1814, after the losses suffered during the French Invasions, the Miragaia Factory was the largest ceramics factory in the city of Porto, with 27 workers, among whom there were numerous family ties, facilitating the transmission of technical and artistic knowledge.

At the end of the 1820s, under the competition of several years of imported tableware from England, the production of pieces similar in shape and/or decoration to the English ones began, some of which will be presented in the exhibition “Zaffre Blue Tin-Glazed Earthenware From the Miragaia Factory”, to be inaugurated on March 22 at the Soares dos Reis National Museum.

 

In the 1850s, after financial problems, the factory closed down, completing around 80 years of activity, remaining to this day a symbol of the quality of the earthenware produced in Porto and Gaia.

 

The Soares dos Reis National Museum preserves a collection of around 180 objects from the Miragaia Factory, as a result of various additions.

 

Curated by José da Costa Reis, the exhibition “Zaffre Blue Tin-Glazed Earthenware From the Miragaia Factory” explores the theme of ‘zaffre blue’ earthenware, so called because of the shade of the color of its glaze, produced at the Miragaia Factory, in Porto, and dating from 1775 to 1822.

 

The museological organization of the exhibition promotes the relationship between this collection and other collections at the Soares dos Reis National Museum, valuing its contextualization and interpretation with approaches to history and European plastic arts, namely Painting, Drawing and Engraving.

Soares dos Reis’ illustrations for Luís de Camões’ ‘The Lusiads’

14 de March, 2024

Although he is recognised as one of the most acclaimed Portuguese sculptors, António Soares dos Reis was also an outstanding draughtsman, having collaborated with drawings of his own for the illustrations of various works. Examples of such drawings are those he produced for ‘Os Lusíadas: poema épico em dez cantos’ (The Lusiads: an epic poem in ten cantos), by Luís de Camões, published in 1878 by the Imprensa Nacional.

 

Directed by Duarte Joaquim dos Santos and Aristides Abranches, this is a bilingual edition, in Portuguese and French, translated by Fernando de Azevedo, with a prologue by Manuel Pinheiro Chagas, drawings by Soares dos Reis and engravings by J. Pedroso.

 

For this publication, Soares dos Reis contributed the following drawings: Camões (title print), Council of the Gods (1st canto), The Nereids (2nd canto), Murder of D. Inês de Castro (3rd canto), The Old Man of Restelo Beach (4th canto) and The Assault on Veloso print (5th canto).

 

The edition of this work dates from 1878 but it was only finalised and sold two years later, in 1880, the year of the celebration of the tercentenary of Camões’ death.

 

António Soares dos Reis made several studies before finalising the drawings, some of which are in the collection of the Soares dos Reis National Museum.

 

Considered one of the most important figures in Portuguese literature, Camões is the author of Os Lusíadas and is acclaimed as one of the world’s leading masters of epic literature.

 

As much as his life was suffered and troubled, the poet is noted for his refined education, which allowed him to establish intimate and inspiring contact with the references of the poetry of the time. It is estimated that Camões was born somewhere in the first half of the 16th century, in 1524, and the 500th anniversary of his birth is now being commemorated.

 

Camões was a member of the court as a lyric poet, although he led an incautious life that led him into self-exile in Africa. It was there, as a soldier in the Portuguese army, that Camões lost his right eye and ended up returning to Portugal. However, he travelled again, this time to the Orient, where he wrote The Lusiads, a work he almost lost on the high seas. The poet died aged 55 and is buried in the Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon.

Santa Clara Convent in Vila do Conde reopens as a hotel unit

14 de March, 2024

The Soares dos Reis National Museum has its origins in the Museum of Paintings and Prints and other Fine Arts objects, created in 1833 by Pedro IV of Portugal, the first Emperor of Brazil, to safeguard the assets sequestered from the absolutists and convents abandoned during the civil war (1832-34).

 

With the extinction of the religious orders, works were collected, among others, from the monasteries of Tibães and Santa Cruz de Coimbra. Known as the Museu Portuense, it was housed in the extinct Convent of Santo António da Cidade, in the square of S. Lázaro, and was formalised by decree in 1836 by King Maria II.

 

Among the objects in the Soares dos Reis National Museum’s collection are three pieces from the Santa Clara Convent in Vila do Conde: a Lectern, a bier and a sculpture of the Virgin and Child.

Located on a small hill on the outskirts of Vila do Conde, with views over the Ave river valley and the city itself, the Santa Clara Convent was included in a support program by Turismo de Portugal, and in 2018 the public tender was launched for its concession, rehabilitation works and operation as a hotel establishment.

 

With no date yet for the official opening ceremony, the hotel group that won the tender has already announced that the new five-star hotel, The Lince Santa Clara, will open on 22 March.

 

The convent was founded in 1318 by D. Afonso Sanches, the illegitimate son of King Dinis and his wife D. Teresa Martins, to house noblewomen with few resources. It was donated the following year to the Order of St Clare and functioned as a women’s convent until its extinction in the 19th century. The convent building was partially rebuilt in 1777 and underwent successive alterations until the end of the 20th century.

 

As part of a vast monumental ensemble, which also includes the Gothic Church of Santa Clara, its cloister and the aqueduct, its volumetry is a neoclassical image of the town and the valley of the River Ave.

Exhibition Zaffre Blue Tin-Glazed Earthenware From the Miragaia Factory

13 de March, 2024

On 22 March, at 6pm, the Soares dos Reis National Museum will open the temporary exhibition “Zaffre Blue Tin-Glazed Earthenware From the Miragaia Factory”, with the presence of the Board of Directors of Museums and Monuments of Portugal, EPE.

 

The exhibition will be open until 23 June 2024, with the patronage support of AOF-Augusto Oliveira Ferreira and Lusitânia Seguros, as well as the support of Círculo Dr. José de Figueiredo – Amigos do Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis.

 

Curated by José da Costa Reis, this exhibition covers the theme of ‘zaffre blue’ earthenware, so called because of the shade of colour of its glaze, produced at the Miragaia Factory in Porto and dating from 1775 to 1822.

The museological organisation of the exhibition promotes the relationship between this collection and other decorative arts collections at the Soares dos Reis National Museum, which precede the modern concept of design, valuing their contextualisation and interpretation with approaches to history and European plastic arts, namely Painting, Drawing and Engraving.

 

The exhibition and its guide are intended to increase the visibility and knowledge of the ceramics collection at the Soares dos Reis National Museum, one of the most important ceramics collections held by a Portuguese national museum, establishing the relationship between the influences of English culture on the production of the Miragaia Factory.

 

António Ponte, Director of the Soares dos Reis National Museum, points out that this exhibition allows “the establishment of a dialogue, both programmatic and museographic, between the zaffre earthenware and other objects from the Soares dos Reis National Museum’s collection, reflecting the idea of transversality in the Portuguese decorative and plastic arts of this period”, which is the result of “a will to think of the collections beyond their borders and in accordance with the aspirations and needs of the contemporary visitor”.

 

The Museum’s ceramics collection currently includes around 4,000 pieces of different types: tiles, designer ceramics, Portuguese and Spanish earthenware (16th to 20th centuries), Chinese and Japanese porcelain (16th to 20th centuries), European porcelain (19th and 20th centuries) and Dutch earthenware from Delft (17th and 18th centuries).

 

A brief history of the Miragaia Factory in Porto

 

In the context of the reforms of Portuguese industry promoted by the minister Marquis of Pombal, the Miragaia Factory was founded in Miragaia (Porto) in 1775 by João Rocha (1720-1799), a Minho merchant who had become rich in Brazil. His nephew João Bento da Rocha was a founding partner.

 

The aim of the entrepreneurs was to manufacture the objects as they were produced in foreign countries, especially China and Europe.

 

In 1814, after the losses suffered during the French Invasions, the Miragaia Factory was the largest ceramics factory in Porto, with 27 workers, among whom there were numerous family ties, facilitating the transmission of technical and artistic knowledge.

 

At the end of the 1820s, under the competition of years of imported pottery from England, Miragaia Factory began to produce objects similar in shape and/or decoration to the English ones, some of which are shown in the exhibition Zaffre Blue Tin-Glazed Earthenware From the Miragaia Factory. In the 1850s, after financial problems, the factory closed down, completing around 80 years of activity, remaining to this day a symbol of the quality of the earthenware produced in Porto and Gaia.

 

The Soares dos Reis National Museum preserves a collection of around 180 pieces from the Miragaia Factory, the result of various incorporations.

190 Years of Marques de Oliveira Garden

13 de March, 2024

Inaugurated on 4 April 1834, Queen Maria II’s birthday, the Lazarus of Bethany Garden was built by King Pedro IV and was the first public garden in the city of Porto.

 

The decision to create this garden is contemporary with the establishment of the Museum of Paintings and Prints and other Fine Arts objects (today the Soares dos Reis National Museum), located right next door, in the old building of the Convent of Santo António, where the Municipal Public Library of Porto is currently located.

 

In the city’s toponymy, Lazarus of Bethany Garden is identified as Marques de Oliveira Garden (since 1929), immortalised there in a bust by António Soares dos Reis, whose bronze is in the Soares dos Reis National Museum (see photo).

Born in Porto, João Marques de Oliveira’s childhood vocation for drawing led him to enter the Academia Portuense de Belas Artes at the age of 11.

 

In 1873, he left for Paris as a pensionerwith his colleague Silva Porto. In the City of Light, Marques de Oliveira continued his studies at the National School of Fine Arts with professors Alexandre Cabanel and M. Yvon and had the opportunity to make contact with some pictorial movements, such as the naturalism of the Barbizon School and Impressionism, and to make study visits to Holland, Belgium and Italy. His artworks from this period were awarded medals and honourable mentions on several occasions. As his final exam at boarding school, he presented the painting Cephalus and Prochris, which is on display at the Soares dos Reis National Museum’s long-term exhibition.

 

On their return to Portugal in 1879, at a time of turmoil in Porto’s artistic milieu, dominated by heated debate about academic reform and the teaching of Fine Arts, Oliveira and Silva Porto introduced the practice of open-air painting in Portugal and were named Academicians of Merit of the Portuguese Fine Arts Association. In this context, the Centro Artístico Portuense (Portuense Artistic Centre) emerged in Porto in 1880, an association of artists seeking the progress of the arts in Portugal, just as the Grupo de Leão art movement was promoting in Lisbon, with the participation of Silva Porto. In the first election for the board of this institution, the sculptor Soares dos Reis took over the presidency and Marques de Oliveira the vice-presidency, as well as being a member of the technical council. In this capacity, he organised an acclaimed exhibition entitled “Bazar do Centro Artístico Portuense”, which took place in the former Palácio de Cristal between 27 March and April 1881.

 

By decree of 26 May 1911, the Academies of Fine Arts gave way to three Councils of Art and Archaeology, with the Oporto District becoming responsible for the Oporto Museum, which was then renamed the Soares dos Reis Museum.

 

In 1913, he left his position as director of the Porto School of Fine Arts to take over as director of the Soares dos Reis Museum, while retaining his positions on the Council of Art and Archaeology. In 1926 he was forced to give up teaching because he had exceeded the age limit allowed by the new law, but also for health reasons. He died in Porto on 9 October 1927.

National Day of Historic Centre

12 de March, 2024

The National Day of Historic Centres officially takes place on 28 March. As in previous editions, Porto is bringing the celebration forward to the weekend, allowing more people to enjoy a full programme of initiatives.

 

This year, the Historic Centre of Porto, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996, will be celebrated on 23 and 24 March, extending the programme to two days, with an even wider range of activities for everyone.

 

For this weekend, the Soares dos Reis National Museum, the only National Museum located in the city of Porto and in the north of Portugal, is proposing two activities, scheduled for 23 and 24 March, with free admission on Sunday for all residents of Portugal.

On Saturday 23rd, at 4pm, there will be a concert by Síntese – Grupo de Música Contemporânea, presenting a programme dedicated to celebrating Portuguese literature, with particular emphasis on the poetry of Eugénio de Andrade. (Free admission).

 

The National Day of Historic Centres, created in 1993, is celebrated annually on 28 March, on the date of the birth of Alexandre Herculano, its patron and one of the greatest defenders of national heritage.

 

Alexandre Herculano is the author of the poem Tristezas do Desterro (Sorrows of Exiled), which inspired António Soares dos Reis to create O Desterrado (The Exiled), the most prominent sculpture in the collection of the Soares dos Reis National Museum.

 

The date is a reminder of the importance of historic centres as elements of culture and heritage with a high historical value.

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.

Domingos Sequeira: from Casa Pia to official court painter

10 de March, 2024

Born on March 10th, 1768, Domingos António de Sequeira (Lisbon, 1768 – Rome, 1837) is considered by some as the most talented and original Portuguese painter of his time, having played a fundamental role in the development of Portuguese art in the early 19th century.

 

Son of a boatman and born  in 1768 into a poor family, Domingos Sequeira was educated in Casa Pia, where he attended the Drawing and Figure course.

 

With a royal scholarship granted by Queen Dona Maria I, he received painting and drawing lessons from Antonio Cavallucci in Rome. Upon his return to Lisbon, he was appointed by the future King João VI (John VI) court painter and co-responsible for the painting project of the Ajuda Palace. He was also a professor of Drawing and Painting to the Royal Family and, in 1806, he directed the drawing class at the Academia de Marinha (Naval Academy) in Porto.

 

In the context of the French invasions, Domingos Sequeira established friendships with officers of the Napoleonic army, such as the Count of Forbin, an officer and amateur painter. This closeness earned him a commission to create an allegorical representation of General Junot’s protective action over Lisbon. The oil on canvas Junot protecting the city of Lisbon dates back to 1808 and is part of the collection of the Soares dos Reis National Museum (in the picture).

Thanks to this activity, Sequeira was seen as a collaborator of the occupying enemy and was therefore the target of persecution and condemnation proceedings, from which he only rehabilitated himself at great cost.

 

In this composition, three groups of figures are represented in the foreground, among which Junot stands out in military attire, facing a young woman who represents the city of Lisbon, supported by Religion and the Genius of the Nation. On the left, the two men represent Mars annihilating Neptune, symbolising France and England respectively, while on the opposite side, the two women symbolise abundance and wisdom, Ceres and Minerva.

 

The last years of his life were spent in Rome, where he devoted himself mainly to religious paintings.

 

In addition to the works by Domingos Sequeira included in the long-term exhibition, the Soares dos Reis National Museum is currently hosting the exhibition Teresa Gonçalves Lobo and Domingos Sequeira – a dialogue in time until April 28th.

 

Image credits

Cover: Drawing ‘Self-portrait of Domingos António de Sequeira’ (the artist’s first known self-portrait) @Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga

Women in the Museum’s Painting Collection

8 de March, 2024

Today, 8 March, is International Women’s Day, established by the United Nations. With this day, the UN wants to pay tribute to women of all nations who have seen their role in society diminished and their rights violated because they were born women, and who have fought for citizenship rights equal to those recognised for men.

 

Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time in 1911, following Clara Zetkin’s initiative, approved at the international women’s congress of the Socialist International in 1910. In the early years it was celebrated on different days, but always in March, on the 19th and 25th, depending on the different contexts or countries.

 

After the Russian workers’ strike on 8 March 1917, which marked the beginning of the Russian Revolution, it was celebrated on 8 March. The United Nations officially established this date as International Women’s Day in 1975.

 

The representation of women has always been a recurring theme in art and the Soares dos Reis National Museum’s painting collection has several examples.

 

We have chosen Aurélia de Souza to honour all women artists. She was born on 13 June 1866 in Valparaíso, Chile, the daughter of Portuguese emigrants. When she was just three years old, she came to Portugal with her family, who settled in Porto, on a property on the banks of the River Douro, Quinta da China.

 

His artistic apprenticeship began with private drawing and painting lessons from Caetano Moreira da Costa Lima. She was already 27 when she enrolled at the Academia Portuense de Belas-Artes, which she attended between 1893 and 1898. In 1899, she left for Paris, financially supported by her family. She stayed there for around three years and attended the courses run by Jean-Paul Laurens and Benjamin Constant at the Julien Academy.

 

Like the State Scholarship programme, before returning to Portugal, she travelled through various European countries in the company of her sister Sofia, also a painter, who had joined Aurélia in Paris. When she returned to Porto, she developed a reserved career, somewhat removed from the city’s artistic circles, despite her regular participation in group exhibitions.

His artistic production is based on a small number of themes: the ones he favoured and worked on throughout his career were portraits, landscapes and intimate scenes of everyday domestic life. In addition to her own face, she looked for motifs for her paintings in the family universe, an inexhaustible source of inspiration: people, corners of the house, aspects of the garden, stretches of landscape with the river in the background.

 

Aurélia de Souza produced one of the landmark works of Portuguese art at the turn of the two centuries: the Self-Portrait from the collection of the Soares dos Reis National Museum, done around 1900. She died in Porto in 1922, aged 55.

 

Aurélia de Souza is one of the few Portuguese women who has a rightful place in the gallery of the great Portuguese painters of the second half of the 19th century, alongside renowned artists such as Marques de Oliveira, Henrique Pousão and António Carneiro.

Image captions @Soares dos Reis National Museum

 

Oil on canvas ‘A tigela partida’ (The broken Bowl), by Silva Porto | Oil on canvas ‘Cabeça de rapariga’ (Head of a Girl), by Marques de Oliveira | Oil on paper pasted on wood ‘Cabeça de Velha’ (Head of an Old Woman), by Augusto Roquemont | Oil on canvas ‘Cecília’ (Cecilia), by Henrique Pousão | Oil on wood ‘Costume de campanha romana (Napolitana)’ (Roman Campaign Costume), by Silva Porto | Oil on wood ‘Costume de Capri (Cabeça)’ (Capri Costume), by Silva Porto | Oil on canvas ‘Cuidados de amor’ (Loving care), by José Malhoa | Oil on wood ‘Napolitana’ (Neapolitan), by Marques de Oliveira | Oil on wood ‘Lavadeira’ (Washerwoman), by Artur Loureiro | Oil on wood ‘Raparigas minhotas’ (Minho girls), by Agostinho Salgado | Oil on canvas ‘Figura de Senhora com flores’ (Lady figure with flowers), by João Augusto Ribeiro | Oil on canvas Self-portrait, by Aurélia de Souza

International Conference on Sculpture in the ECR Magazine

6 de March, 2024

The 13th issue of the ECR (Estudos de Conservação e Restauro – Studies of Conservation and Restoration) Magazine, published by the CITAR (Centro de Investigação em Ciência e Tecnologia das Artes da Escola das Artes da Universidade Católica Portuguesa – Research Centre in Science and Technology of the Arts of the School of Arts of the Portuguese Catholic University), is now available. This issue is dedicated to the research presented at the SCULPT 2021 conference: Shaping Genealogies: 1st International Conference on late 19th and early 20th century sculpture.

 

This publication contains three articles related to the Soares dos Reis National Museum, regarding the study of the life and work of António Soares dos Reis and the theme of study and conservation of plaster works, following the GEO-SR Project (Multidisciplinary approach to the alteration, alterability and conservation of Soares dos Reis’ geomaterial sculptural work: reassessing museological paradigms and creating value for changing societies through Cultural Heritage).

The GEO-SR project aimed to study 35 sculptures by Soares dos Reis in order to fill a deep gap in scientific and technological knowledge regarding the material, conservation and symbolic components of 19th century European geomaterial sculpture.

Led by the Portuguese Catholic University, the project involved the participation of the University of Aveiro (GeoBioTec), the University of Minho (Physics Centre) and the Soares dos Reis National Museum.

Among the authors published in the ECR Magazine, we highlight two senior PhD researchers from the National Museum Soares dos Reis, as well as three sculpture conservator-restorers from the José de Figueiredo Laboratory.

List of the published articles

– António Soares dos Reis and Augustus Saint-Gaudens: an artistic friendship

Thayer Tolles (pages 6-21)

– Soares dos Reis’ plaster models: technical production and the challenge of the conservation and restoration

Elsa Murta, Michèle Portela, Inês Sardinha, Paula Santos (pages 22-41)

– Exploring portable ultrasonic pulse velocity avails in the conservation assessment of plaster sculptures in museum environment

António Mário Almeida, Mário António Pereira, Graça Vasconcelos, Salomé Carvalho, Rui Bordalo, Eduarda Vieira (pages 42-59)

TV Show “Visita Guiada” introduces Long-Term Exhibition

5 de March, 2024

On the day it completed 10 years, the Portuguese TV show “Visita Guiada” was recording at the Soares dos Reis National Museum. Conducted by Paula Moura Pinheiro, the program dedicated to the new Long-Term Exhibition of the Museum will be broadcast in April, on RTP2.

 

Throughout the last decade, the “Visita Guiada” program has been at the Soares dos Reis National Museum for multiple occasions, but now returns in the new season, revealing all the details that led to the reformulation of the Long-Term Exhibition, with an interview to António Ponte, Director of the Soares dos Reis National Museum.

 

With a history spanning almost 200 years, what is the first public art museum in the country presents a renewed perspective on its collections, always valuing the cultural heritage it comprises and honouring the history to which it is heir.

In the new long-term exhibition, the Museum proposes a path with two complementary readings. A first reading, which reflects its history and the way in which the collections were integrated, and in a second reading the artist and their works are valued. The exhibition presents a total of 1133 objects distributed across 27 galleries.

 

Authored and presented by Paula Moura Pinheiro, “Visita Guiada” tells the History of the Portuguese territory and its relations with the rest of the world through historical, material and immaterial heritage.

 

‘At the western end of the European continent, the territory that became Portugal around 900 years ago is, naturally, over-exposed to contact with geographies. Evidence of an extensive and complex network of relationships with other peoples and cultures dates back to pre-History and continues to occur: as in any other territory, everything that has occurred and happened in Portuguese territory over time is always, directly or indirectly, linked to other places and other people.

 

It is this global, integrated reading of History and heritage that Paula Moura Pinheiro seeks from the best researchers in the areas of History, Archaeology, Geography, Arts and Architecture’.  – Produced by RTP2, “Visita Guiada” began broadcasting weekly in 2014.

After the exhibition “Portreto de la Animo”, Art Brut travels to Paris

5 de March, 2024

Open to the public at the Soares dos Reis National Museum from July to December of 2023, the temporary exhibition “Portreto de la Animo. Art Brut Etc.” provided a meeting between works from the collection of the Soares dos Reis National Museum and the Treger Saint Silvester collection, stored at the Centro de Arte Oliva (S. João da Madeira). The curatorship was made by António Saint Silvestre and came from a selection of portraits and self-portraits of both collections, in drawing, sculpture, painting and photography.

 

The surprising exhibition design fostered unusual encounters between the exhibition’s visitors and the work of over 100 artists of the so-called Art Brut.

 

Part of those works will now be on display in the Parisian gallery Halle Saint Pierre, from March 12th to August 14th, in the “L’Esprit Singulier” exhibition, with 150 works of Art Brut from the Treger Saint Silvestre Collection.

Specialised in Art Brut, Singular Art and Pop Culture, the French gallery Halle Saint Pierre classifies the estate of the private collectors Richard Treger and António Saint Silvestre as “one of the most important European collections of Art Brut and Singular Art”.

 

The exhibition is curated by Martine Lusardy, who, having directed Halle Saint Pierre since 1994, recognises the new exhibition – whose title means “The Singular Spirit” – “the magic of an interworld that is at once familiar and unknown”.

 

Agnès Baillon, Henry Darger, Jacques Deal, Jaime Fernandes, Martha Grünenwaldt, David Houis, Foma Jaremtschuk, Alexander Lobanov, Marilena Pelosi and Adolphe Wölfli are just some of the authors whose work will be showcased at Halle Saint Pierre.

 

At the Soares dos Reis National Museum, the exhibition “Portreto de la Animo. Art Brut Etc.” allowed to establish a relationship between the two collections, exploring the different ways of representing the human figure and self-representation through art, from personal universes and interior worlds that are so diverse, between canonical formal solutions and others unconventional ones.

 

The exhibition included several objects from the Soares dos Reis National Museum collection, placed in dialogue with pieces from the Treger Saint Silvestre Collection, such as the Bust-Reliquary of São Pantaleão; the “Death mask of Soares dos Reis”, by Joaquim José Texeira Lopes; the Spittoon, by Rafael Bordallo Pinheiro; and the oil “Mãe e Filha” (Mother and Daughter), by Sarah Afonso; among others.

 

As part of the “Art & Health” programmatic axis of the Soares dos Reis National Museum, the exhibition was complemented by an extensive program of mediation activities, scientifically supported by the National Coordination of Mental Health Policies, which included commented visits, talks, workshops and performance. During the period in which it was open to the public, it registered a total of 35 thousand visitors.

Goldwork and Jewellery: from pre-Roman times to the 19th century

1 de March, 2024

The Goldwork and Jewellery collection at the Soares dos Reis National Museum was set up in 1932, with the incorporation of a number of objects from the estate of the Episcopal Palace of Porto. The collection grew with the addition of pieces from extinct convents, royal palace collections, donations and one-off acquisitions.

 

The deposit of the Porto City Council’s collections in the Museum in 1937 significantly enhanced the Jewellery collection, enriching it with a varied set of jewels from the collection of the former Municipal Museum.

 

The Soares dos Reis National Museum’s long-term exhibition features several pieces covering different chronological periods, from pre-Roman times (900 BC) to the 19th century.

Props were used as body adornment, amulets, a form of social distinction or a symbol of power. The pair of gold bracelets and the Estela Treasure are important testimonies to the history of goldsmithing and noble metals in Portugal.

 

These pieces of jewelry prove that metalworking was already mastered in the distant past. Showing contacts with people from Central European and Mediterranean cultures, they reflect the knowledge of decorative forms and techniques, as well as the process of fusing metals that has continued to this day.

 

Goldwork of the 18th century

The exploration of gold mines and precious stones in Brazil had a strong impact on Portuguese jewelry from the first half of the 18th century, reflecting the luxury and opulence of a wealthy society. The Bodice Ornament, with the image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Lisbon, is a remarkable expression of this splendor.

 

The excessive taste for jewelry was reflected in the diversity of personal adornments for men and women: necklaces, pins and rings, shoe buckles, insignia, among others.

 

Among the civil and religious silver pieces, national production stands out, with two major centers represented – Porto and Lisbon. Foreign production is represented by craftsmen and workshops from Italy and Germany.

 

Jewelry and personal accessories

Jewelry and accessories for personal use from the 17th to the 19th century followed the changes in European fashion. In the 19th century, there was a widespread taste for jewelry linked to important moments in personal life and the expression of feelings, such as pendants with miniature portraits as a reminder of a loved one or family event. Rings were worn as mere adornment or as a symbol of authority, love, widowhood or friendship. Religious-themed jewelry could include crucifixes or pendants depicting the Virgin, Christ or saints. Snuff boxes (ground tobacco), some displaying delicate portraits, bear witness to the widespread habit of snuff consumption throughout Europe.

140 years since the death of painter Henrique Pousão

1 de March, 2024

Considered one of the biggest names in Portuguese painting in the second half of the 19th century, Henrique Pousão died of tuberculosis at the age of 25 on March 20, 1884.

 

The young artist attended the Academia Portuense de Belas-Artes and was a state pensioner in France and Italy. His paintings of roads and streets, courtyards, houses and aspects of Paris bear witness to his creative career, which culminated in his stays in Rome and Capri.

 

His family recognized his talent from an early age, especially in his pencil portraits. At the age of 10, he moved to Barcelos and, in 1872, settled in Porto. It was in this city that he attended the studio of the painter António José da Costa to prepare for his entry into the Academia Portuense de Belas-Artes (1872).

 

Greatly influenced by Marques de Oliveira, who had returned from Paris in 1879, Pousão won the competition to become a pensioner and arrived in Paris at the end of 1880, accompanied by Sousa Pinto (1856 – 1939).

Before joining the studio of Cabanel and Yvon, he visited art galleries and museums in both Paris and Madrid.

That year, he moved to Rome, where he rented a studio and, in 1882, produced significant artworks, also in Naples and Capri. Landscapes with a poetic and vibrant chromaticism, exercises in capturing light, genre paintings such as Cecília, and portraits, such as Senhora Vestida de Preto (Lady in Black), done in Paris, reveal his modernity, unusual in the Portuguese art scene.

 

At the end of 1883, already ill, he decided to return to Portugal. He traveled via Genoa, passing through Marseille and Barcelona, where he painted “Cais de Barcelona” (pictured opposite).

 

In March 1884, a few days before his death, he painted “A bouquet of flowers” (top image).

 

His work reveals the boldness and talent of the young painter and his absolute interest in the values of the painting itself to the detriment of the themes or the narrative. After his premature death, his work was given to the Academia Portuense de Belas Artes.

 

In the collection of the Soares dos Reis National Museum, Henrique Pousão’s work is strongly represented, especially the paintings “Casas Brancas de Capri” (White Houses of Capri), “Senhora Vestida de Preto” (Lady Dressed in Black) and “Janelas das Persianas Azuis” (Windows with Blue Shutters), all classified as national treasures.

Cais de Barcelona, Henrique Pousão

Museum hosts Open Classes of the Siza Baroque project

28 de February, 2024

As part of the Siza Baroque research project, developed by the Center for the Study of Architecture and Urbanism at the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Porto, the Soares dos Reis National Museum is hosting a series of open classes for the History of Modern Architecture course on March 7.

Cycle of Open Classes

‘Bernini and the Idea of Baroque 1’
By José Miguel Rodrigues | March 7, 2024, 2:30 p.m.
Soares dos Reis National Museum Auditorium

‘Borromini and the Idea of Baroque 2’
By Joana Couceiro | March 7, 2024, 16h30
Soares dos Reis National Museum Auditorium

The Baroque as an idea can be better understood through a diptych that confronts two author-architects who were born, one year apart, in the first half of the Baroque century (16th-17th). The rivalry and dispute between the two is historical.

 

This cycle of two lectures aims to revisit what unites these two adversaries (who respected each other) and whose dispute helped to develop their respective individual architectural expressions and, above all, contributed to the most astonishing critical reconstruction of classical architecture that the Siza Baroque project aims to continue.

 

Siza Baroque is a research project that aims to highlight the relationship between the idea of Baroque and the work of Álvaro Siza. As a trend in art in general and architecture in particular, the Baroque wants to build a new world on the basis of the old, which it believes is not prepared for the present and the future to come. The links between Álvaro Siza’s architecture and the Baroque are present in various authors who have written about Siza, as well as remaining in the way Siza himself, referring to Porto and Nasoni in written texts, announces his interest and commitment to learning more about Baroque architecture and the city Barrocas.

 

José Miguel Rodrigues is an architect and full professor at the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Porto, where he teaches the History of Modern Architecture course and, as part of the PhD program, the Thesis Project course [profile E]. He is co-author of the New Village of Luz project (1995-2002). Since 2011 he has been working on a project to translate the written work of Giorgio Grassi into Portuguese. In 2013, he published his doctoral thesis ‘The Ordered and Accessible World of Architectural Forms’ and in 2020 the book ‘Palladio and the Modern’, which was awarded the FAD prize, thought and criticism (2021). He is currently director of the Center for Architecture and Urbanism Studies at the Faculty of Architecture and coordinator of the T2P research group, being the Lead Researcher of the Siza Barroco project.

 

Joana Couceiro is an architect with a degree from the University of Coimbra (2005) and a PhD from the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Porto (2018). She was a collaborator at aNC arquitectos and at the Pedra Líquida studio, and has co-authored published works. She is co-founder of the architecture publishing house Circo de Ideias (she was part of the management team until 2018) and of Pechakucha Night Porto. At the invitation of Casa da Arquitectura, she curated the V Open House Porto, under the title ‘Inner Life’. Between 2013 and 2021, she was a guest lecturer in the History of Modern Architecture at the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Porto. Between 2021 and 2023 she was a researcher at esad-idea and assistant curator of the conference program for the second and third editions of the Porto Design Biennale. She is currently a researcher at the Center for Architecture and Urbanism Studies, where she is developing the Siza Barroco project.

Camellias in the painting collection and in the Museum Garden

28 de February, 2024

Next weekend (March 2 and 3), São Roque Park will once again be the venue for another edition of the Porto Camellia Exhibition. In association with the event that pays homage to Porto’s most popular flower, the Soares dos Reis National Museum is presenting a selection of works depicting camellias from its painting collection.

 

From António José da Costa’s ‘Vase with Camellias’, to Alberto Aires de Gouveia’s ‘Still Life’ and Henrique Pousão’s ‘Flowers’, the Museum also has the Camellia Garden, located in the center of the Carrancas Palace.

 

Known as the “queens of winter”, camellias bloom in the coldest season of the year and also “lend” their color to the Soares dos Reis National Museum.

The Carrancas Palace began to be built in 1795. In 1861, the Carrancas Palace was acquired by King Pedro V to become the official residence of the royal family during their visits to the north of the country and was remodeled.

 

In 1915, it was donated to Misericórdia through the will of King Manuel II, who wanted to build a hospital there, but this never came to happen. Later, the State bought the palace to house the Soares dos Reis National Museum, which had been founded in 1833 and was housed in the Santo António Convent, now the Porto Municipal Public Library.

 

The Carrancas Palace was again remodeled for its new function and, in 1940, the Soares dos Reis National Museum, the oldest public art museum in Portugal, was inaugurated here.

 

Between 1992 and 2001, the building underwent a series of major renovations by architect Fernando Távora. Outside, there is a patio with pink walls and tiles that gives way to a garden sheltered by the building’s walls. The green space with lawns gives full prominence to the camellias.

Meeting of Conservation and Restoration Workers

27 de February, 2024

The team of conservator-restorers from the Soares dos Reis National Museum took part yesterday in Lisbon in the Meeting of Conservation and Restoration Professionals, promoted by Museus e Monumentos de Portugal, E.P.E. (pictured).

 

According to the organization, the initiative “was an opportunity to share experiences and good practices among all the professionals responsible for the conservation of cultural assets in the custody of national museums, and to discuss the networking that is to be implemented, in close cooperation with the José de Figueiredo Laboratory”.

The conservator-restorer is a highly qualified professional who studies interdisciplinary subjects, from chemistry to biology, art history, archaeology and museology. They are responsible for highly complex and responsible tasks and often work in multidisciplinary networks.

 

The Soares dos Reis National Museum is constantly working in the areas of conservation and restoration, in the context of managing and monitoring the different collections, ongoing training, mentoring trainees and research, carried out in collaboration with universities.

 

The team of conservator-restorers regularly participates in research projects with the aim of contributing to new studies on conservation and restoration techniques and procedures.

 

In 2023, 163 works were conserved (115 by the Soares dos Reis Nactional Museum team and 48 by external professionals).

Museum director leads debate on tourism and culture

27 de February, 2024

The Director of the Soares dos Reis National Museum, António Ponte, will be the moderator of the debate ‘Tourism and culture as city assets’, which will include the participation of Miguel Guedes, João Paulo Rapagão and Catarina Santos Cunha.

 

Scheduled for next Saturday, March 2, the talk will take place after the visit by Arquitectos Aliados Studio to the M.Ou.Co Hotel, as part of the first edition of “Porto de Arquitetura”.

 

“Porto de Arquitetura” is a program developed jointly by Porto City Council and Casa da Arquitectura. Between February and July, eight buildings in the city, representative of the latest contemporary architecture, will be visited free of charge and open to the public upon prior registration.

Each visit is accompanied by a talk with the architects and other personalities connected to the spaces, which will give an insider’s view of the process of designing, constructing and restoring the works.

 

The buildings represent some of the most important recent interventions in the city, from housing to infrastructure, including buildings for education, culture, tourism and municipal services.

 

All of them are urban landmarks which, revealed and unveiled in this way, are intended to inspire future quality interventions and highlight the high standards we want for the city we inhabit.

 

All visits are guided by the architects who designed the works and always start at 4pm. At the end of each visit, there will be a talk with a number of personalities linked to the works.

 

More information here.

 

Photo credits: Câmara Municipal do Porto @Andreia Merca

141 years since the death of the pioneer of portrait realism in Portugal

26 de February, 2024

Miguel Ângelo Lupi, a portraitist of bourgeois society between 1870 and 1880, is considered the pioneer of realist portraiture in Portugal. Born in Lisbon, he died on 26 February 1883.

 

The painter is represented in the long-term exhibition at the Soares dos Reis National Museum, namely in the portraits of Pedro Paulo Ferreira de Sousa, 1st Baron of Pernes and brave fighter in the Battle of Pernes in 1834, and his wife, the Baroness Helena de Águeda Bom (pictured).

 

In these paintings, the artist highlights the two personalities by depicting them against backgrounds worked in gradations of colour, giving the illusion of depth. The couple is portrayed eleven years after the baron’s death, which would have forced the artist to use an image, while his wife still posed for the artist.

Miguel Ângelo Lupi was born in Lisbon on 8 May 1826 to an Italian father and a Portuguese mother. At the age of 15 he entered the Lisbon Academy of Fine Arts. From 1841 to 1843 he was a pupil of Joaquim Rafael in the Historical Drawing class, winning two prizes. A pupil of António Manuel da Fonseca in the Historical Painting class from 1844 to 1846, he left the Academy that year to attend the Polytechnic School.

 

Between 1849 and 1860 he held various positions as a state official, one of them in the province of Angola. From these years we know of some works that were not very relevant to the painter’s career. In 1859, at the age of 33, he was invited to paint a portrait of King Pedro V for the Lisbon Court of Auditors, where he worked. With the pleasure of the king and the Academy, he obtained a state scholarship to complete his apprenticeship in Rome. Housed in the Hospice of Santo António dos Portugueses from the autumn of 1860 until the end of 1863, he never sought direct instruction from a master.

 

Interested in studying anatomy, the nude and portraiture, he copied works by Titian, Corregio, Rubens, Andrea del Sartro and Velasquez in small formats. He also works from live models, local scenes and figures and sketches small compositions inspired by literary themes such as Faust and Marguerite. He prepared the historical painting D. João de Portugal as his final proof as a State scholarship holder.

 

On his return from Rome and then in 1867, he visited Paris. This contact proved crucial in the painter’s formation. Touched by the realist current, particularly the work of Courbet, he introduced new intensity to the analysis and interpretation of the themes he worked on in the future, especially in portraiture. Arriving in Lisbon in 1864, he was immediately appointed Academician of Merit and Professor of Figure Drawing at the Lisbon Academy of Fine Arts, and in 1868 he took up the post of Professor of Historical Painting, which he held until his death on 26 February 1883.

 

 

Image Credits
Cover Photo: Occidente Magazine, Volume VI, Nº 153 of 21 March 1883 – Hemeroteca Digital