Categoria de Coleção: Sculpture

The Soares dos Reis National Museum’s Sculpture collection features works by Soares dos Reis and, in particular, his famous The Exiled. Following the line of this Portuguese artist, the Museum includes pieces by Teixeira Lopes and various alumni of the Porto School of Fine Arts. There is also a section that brings together various Modernist artists and the estate of the German sculptor-ceramist, Hein Semke.

Soares dos Reis was prominent in the last quarter of the 19th century, a time when European relations in art education came to fruition through the awarding of scholarships. It was through such a scholarship that Soares dos Reis conceived O Desterrado (The Exiled, Rome, 1872), a work based on nostalgia that became a national icon. Other highlights include Flor Agreste (Wild Flower), the statues of the Count of Ferreira and the Brotero plasterwork. In the area of portraiture, the Busto da Inglesa, Mrs. Leech (Bust of the English Lady, Mrs. Leech), also attracted wide renown. One of Soares dos Reis’s most outstanding disciples at the Porto School of Fine Arts was António Teixeira Lopes, whose Infância de Caim (Cain’s Childhood) (1890) precedes the transition to Naturalism. This current includes Cabeça de Velha (Head of an Old Woman) by Fernandes de Sá, revealing the influence of Rodin, sketches by Alves de Sousa and pieces by Oliveira Ferreira, Pinto do Couto, Américo Gomes and others. In the 1920s, modernism featured in the works of António Azevedo, Diogo de Macedo and Francisco Franco, who were similarly influenced by the distilled treatment of portraiture, whilst Canto da Maya explored the ideal of a return to the origins of European art in pieces such as Baiser. There was a return to the Porto School with works by Gustavo Bastos and Irene Vilar, following Master Barata Feyo. In a non-figurative vein, there was also Abstração I (Abstraction I) by Arlindo Rocha (1949). Finally, the Hein Semke collection presents ideals of Peace and Justice in works that are transcendental in their appeal. The Sculpture collection also covers the Romanization of the Peninsula, as illustrated by a Sarcophagus, alluding to the Four Seasons, from Reguengos, in the Alentejo. There are also remarkable works from the Modern and Medieval Ages, in which an articulated Christ, dating from the 13th or 14th century between Valladolid and Palencia, is a particular highlight.

Sarcophagus alluding to the Four Seasons of the Year

Sarcófago alusivo às Quatro Estações do Ano

3rd – 4th century AD
Marble carved in low-relief
Inventory sheet

This Roman sarcophagus was discovered in 1840 at Monte da Azinheira in Reguengos, in the region of Évora. Its iconography seems to have a religious meaning, related to the mystery of existence after death. In fact, the evocation of the cult of Bacchus, through symbols of grape picking and wine presses, suggests the pleasures of an afterlife.
The sarcophagus features a low-relief frieze alluding to the Four Seasons of the Year around a central medallion with the portrait of the recipient holding a volumen – the symbol of the municipal magistracy. This medallion is supported by two winged victories, in turn flanked by the Genii of the Seasons. To the left, a young man personifies spring, while hunting birds symbolise autumn. To the right, flowers and fruit allude to summer and winter is represented by an old man with a beard. At the far ends of the chest are a shepherd playing the Pan Flute and young men treading grapes in a vat.

Abstraction I

Abstração I

Arlindo Rocha (1921-1999)



Inventory sheet

Arlindo Rocha belongs to the generation born in the 1920s, which includes Gustavo Bastos and Irene Vilar, followers of Master Barata Feyo. But unlike these, Arlindo Rocha launched himself into Abstractionism with Abstração I (Abstraction I), a piece that had a great impact at the Independent Exhibition, in Braga, in 1949.

Despite this type of experiment, Arlindo Rocha continued producing in the figurative field, as shown by Torso feminino (Female Torso) in Estremoz marble, deposited at the Soares dos Reis National Museum and which reflects Rodin’s influence on Portuguese sculpture.

Porto has several of Rocha’s public works on show: the statue of Bispo [Bishop] D. António Ferreira Gomes next to Clérigos Church, the embossed friezes of the Court of Appeal and the image of Santo António das Antas.

Portrait of the Writer Maria Oswald

Cabeça de velha

Irene Vilar (1930-2008)



Inventory sheet

This sculpture of the writer, Maria de Castro Henriques Oswald (Porto 1893-1988), reflects the connection that is often made between sculptors and intellectuals, an aspect that is highly evident in the Soares dos Reis National Museum sculpture collection. Such a relationship had a special meaning in the work of Irene Vilar, as is clear in her depictions of poets, among them Fernando Pessoa, Florbela Espanca and Cesário Verde.

This portrait of Maria Oswald belongs to an early phase in which Irene Vilar finished the Sculpture course at the Porto School of Fine Arts, where she was a pupil of the master, Barata Feyo.



Ernesto Canto da Maya (1890-1981)



Inventory sheet

Baiser (Kiss) is a modernist work in patinated clay, highlighting aspects of a figurative art that explores the ideal of a return to European roots, along the lines proposed by the sculptors Antoine Bourdelle and Aristide Maillol, a trend that gained adherence in Paris in the 1920s.

In the body of Canto da Maya’s work, Baiser was part of a period in which the artist exalted the exuberant and the sensitive, in a search for the essence of the human being. Totally outside the canons, the figures are modelled in clay: the ideal raw material to give shape to the notion of eroticism conveyed by the primitive pair.

Head of an Old Woman

Retrato da escritora Maria Oswald

António Fernandes de Sá (1872-1959)


Carrara marble

Inventory sheet

The marble is clearly to be seen in this irregularly contoured bust, from which emerges the figure of an old woman, with droopy eyelids and the protruding bones of a thin face. The naked torso similarly exposes her collarbones and rather scrawny neck.

In this piece, the artist brings us face to face with the stark reality of lost beauty. It is certainly based on a theme that goes back to 1887, referring specifically to one of the pillars of Auguste Rodin’s Gates of Hell, the impressive marble Celle qui fut la Belle Heaulmière, to whom this piece is indebted.


A Caridade

António Teixeira Lopes (1866-1942)



Inventory sheet

This bronze is faithful to the model for Caridade (Charity) belonging to the Teixeira Lopes House-Museum. The respective marble is at the tomb of A. Caetano de Carvalho in the Agramonte Cemetery in Porto. In his Memórias (Memoirs), Teixeira Lopes wrote that it was one of his best works.

Teixeira Lopes’ Caridade (Charity) follows the parameters of Naturalism, moving away from the traditional iconography, which depicted a woman covering hungry children with her cloak. Instead, Teixeira Lopes focuses on the suffering expression of a Sister of Charity, in contemporary clothes, supporting malnourished children. Under her hood, we see the lost look on her face, while her emaciated hands are barely able to hold the helpless children.

Cain’s Childhood

Infância de Caim

António Teixeira Lopes (1866-1942)


Carrara marble

Inventory sheet

This is one of Teixeira Lopes’ major works, in that it marked his projection into the artistic world. The sculpture was acquired by the Porto City Hall in an individual exhibition held at the Palácio da Bolsa, after being awarded a prize at the the 1890 Salon.

The biblical figure of Cain may have several meanings, but it essentially personifies Envy. In this case, Teixeira Lopes uses a child model, a much-expanded formula at the time, giving proof of all his creative power and technical mastery. The child’s thin body, disturbed expression, frizzy hair, tense arms and clenching hands are remarkable.

Mrs. Leech – Bust of the Englishwoman

Busto da Inglesa, Mrs. Leech

António Soares dos Reis (1847-1889)



Inventory Sheet

This bronze reproduces the plasterwork on display at the Teixeira Lopes House-Museum, which was completed in Lisbon in November 1887. The marble version was never signed, leading one to believe that it had been refused. This failure and other professional problems probably drove the artist to suicide on February 16th 1889.

In this work, Soares dos Reis responded to the challenge of portraying an English lady, highlighting her extremely austere personality. The frontal pose and the deep look of the model, dressed in a closed mantilla, contribute to this effect. Seen in profile, one discovers a sober hairstyle, with a chignon of plaits, handled with extreme delicacy.

The portrait is of Mrs. Elisa Ashworth, whom the sculptor met in Porto and who presented herself with great discretion. This can be seen by the way she was photographed, just before her 48th birthday, wearing a closed cape and with her hair tied up.

The Counts of Almedina’s Daughter

Filha dos Condes de Almedina

António Soares dos Reis (1847-1889)


Carrara marble

Inventory sheet

Luísa Guimarães Guedes was the daughter of Delfim Guedes, Count of Almedina, inspector of the Academia Real de Belas Artes de Lisboa and a prominent figure in the artistic world. The artist’s development of the work is documented in drawings and maquettes.

The finished version shows the complex elaboration of the modelling, especially in the hair, flowers and embroidery of the dress. In terms of composition, they are defining traits of a highly particular Soares dos Reis’ scheme: the sinuous pose with the model’s arms crossing at mid-body, treated at rest, with a reserved expression.

Wild Flower

António Soares dos Reis (1847-1889)


Carrara marble

Inventory sheet

It is assumed that the Flor Agreste (Wild Flower) model was the daughter of a charcoal burner that passed by Soares dos Reis’ studio. The piece was done in 1878, when Soares dos Reis was waiting for his workshop-house to be built in Rua Luís de Camões, in Vila Nova de Gaia.

The marble sculpture was sold at an exhibition-bazaar at the Centro Artístico Portuense, of which Soares dos Reis was one of the founders, held in 1881 at the Palácio de Cristal. Posthumously, the Flor Agreste plaster model served as a matrix for various types of reproduction, in various sizes and materials, giving the work an extraordinary diffusion.