Passos Manuel: the founder of Porto Academy

18 de January, 2024

With origins in the Drawing and Sketching Class, the Academia Portuense de Belas-Artes was created in 1836, by decree of Passos Manuel, staying under queen D. Maria II and king D. Fernando’s high protection. In its genesis, were the promotion and the diffusion of the fine arts’ study and its application to the industry.


Based in the extinct Convent of Santo António da Cidade – place where it was also installed the Portuense Museum (currently Soares dos Reis National Museum), the Academy offered classes in the areas of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture and also a preparatory course in Drawing. In 1881, this organism originates the Academia Portuense de Belas-Artes, with the Academy taking on exclusively promotional functions regarding art and archaeology, and the defence and promotion of the museum’s patrimony.

Manoel da Silva Passos (Passos Manuel) was born on January 5th, 1805, in S. Martinho de Guifões, in the old Bouças district (Matosinhos), and died on January 18th, 1862, in Santarém.


He was one of the most important governors of the first Portuguese Liberalism in the 19th century.


He was the principal enhancer of masculine high school education in Portugal. This school was destined to the creation of a population scientifically and technically prepared, which would materialise, ten years later, with the creation of high school in the district’s capitals.


By decree of October 25th, 1836, he created the Academia Portuense de Belas-Artes and, on January 11th, 1837, founded the Porto Polytechnic Academy and the Lisbon Polytechnic School (the latter took over the Real de Marinha Academy’s functions). Through the decree of December 29th, 1836, he organised the medical-surgical schools in Lisbon and in Porto.