Lady in Black - Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis
National Treasures

Lady in Black

Henrique Pousão (1859-1884)


Oil on wood

Inventory sheet

Painted in Rome in 1882, Senhora Vestida de Preto (Lady in Black) is one of the numerous tablets on which Henrique Pousão would sketch a new project to express his best ideas on painting. Its expressive, cut out dense patches of colour are juxtaposed in a play of chiaroscuro and light-shadow contrasts.

A dominant element of the composition, the black dress is outlined in brushstrokes that structure the form and give movement to the body. The light coming from the right and illuminating the entire composition accentuates the planes of the dress with its subtle grey brushstrokes. The woman’s body, leaning slightly forward, is balanced by the turning of her head as she looks towards the opposite side: the source of the light illuminating the face and projecting the shadow beyond the figure.