Naturalism was an aesthetic and artistic movement that emerged in France from 1830, with the creation of the Barbizon School and through the paintings of Théodore Rousseau (1812-1867), Jean-François Millet (1814-1875) and Gustave Courbet (1819-1877).
In Portugal, the naturalist and realist aesthetic of the Barbizon School was introduced by the painters Silva Porto (1850-1893) and Marques de Oliveira (1853-1927), and lasted until the 1920s.
The painters came into contact with this new artistic movement during their stay in France, as pensioners of the Portuguese state.
In 1867, the Academies of Fine Arts began awarding scholarships to students abroad. Silva Porto and Marques de Oliveira were the first recipients of scholarships in Painting.
They entered the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1873 and, in the forest of Barbizon, lived with a group of artists who followed open-air painting and focused on the effects of light on the landscape.
Henrique Pousão went to Paris in 1880. The painting of paths and streets, courtyards, houses, aspects of Paris, bears witness to his creative journey, which culminates in his stays in Rome and Capri.
The painting of paths and streets, courtyards, houses, aspects of Paris, bears witness to his creative journey, which culminates in his stays in Rome and Capri.
António Carvalho da Silva Porto (1850 – 1893)
After completing his studies at the Academia Portuense de Belas-Artes, he left for Paris in 1873 on a state pension to study landscape painting. In France he painted in Barbizon, the mythical birthplace of Naturalism, and in Auvers he met Daubigny, one of the masters of the movement.
He exhibited at the Salon in 1876 and 1878. Settling in Rome, he traveled with Marques de Oliveira to various cities in Italy.
In 1879 he returned to the country. The landscapes he presented at the historic exhibition of the Sociedade Promotora das Belas-Artes in 1880 introduced the naturalist aesthetic to Portugal. Around him, a group of young painters gathered for the annual “Exhibitions of Modern Paintings”, which Columbano celebrated in 1885 with the collective portrait The Lion Group.
In the last years of his activity, he developed a painting of regional types and customs, which would be explored in a more exuberant way by Malhoa and Carlos Reis.
João Marques de Oliveira (1853 – 1927)
He began his artistic training at a very young age with the private master António José da Costa, and then enrolled at the Academia Portuense de Belas Artes.
A classmate of Silva Porto’s, he would continue with him between 1873 and 1879 as a state pensioner abroad, Marques de Oliveira in the Historical Painting class and Silva Porto in Landscape Painting. He left for Paris at the end of 1873 and in 1874 enrolled at the National School of Fine Arts in Paris.
Linked to historical painting through his boarding school duties and, later, his teaching, Marques de Oliveira always showed a great sensitivity to nature and landscape studies, which he tried to capture in small prints. His activity as a teacher was remarkable, bringing students into direct contact with nature, but always insisting on the quality of drawing as the basis of any work.
Like Silva Porto, he was one of the main elements in the introduction of naturalism in Portugal. Like Silva Porto, he was one of the main elements in the introduction of naturalism in Portugal.