Presentation of the ‘Soares dos Reis Travelling Notebook’

20 de June, 2024

On 24 June, at 5pm, the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, will preside over the launch of the facsimile edition of “Caderno de Viagens de Soares dos Reis”, accompanied by a book of critical texts by Bernardo Pinto de Almeida and Paula Santos Triães.


António Soares dos Reis’ travel notebook and annotations, acquired by the association Círculo Dr José de Figueiredo – Friends of the Musem, at the proposal of the Soares dos Reis National Museum, is one of the novelties of the Museum’s revamped long-term exhibition. This important historical document contains 27 original drawings, annotations and manuscripts. It was first given to José Relvas by the sculptor’s widow in 1904.

About António Soares dos Reis

Patron of the Museum since 1911, António Soares dos Reis, considered one of the greatest Portuguese sculptors of the 19th century, was born on 14 October 1847 in Santo Ovídio, in the parish of Mafamude, in the municipality of Vila Nova de Gaia.


At just 14 years old, he enrolled at the Academia Portuense de Belas Artes, where – during his studies – he won several prizes and honours. In just a few years he had completed the course, winning 1st prize in drawing, architecture and sculpture.


At the age of 20, he became a state pensioner abroad. Between 1867 and 1870, Soares dos Reis stayed in Paris as a student, receiving lessons from Jouffroy, Yvon and Taine. In Paris, he received several prizes for his artwork.


After a brief stay in Portugal, in 1871 he left for Rome, a decisive stage in his education. It was in Rome that he began work on O Desterrado (The Exiled) (1872), an oeuvre of classical inspiration, an essay in the transition to naturalism, which was awarded a prize at the General Fine Arts Exhibition in Madrid in 1881.


Returning to Porto in 1873 to devote himself to his artistic career, Soares dos Reis collaborated with publications and chaired the Centro Artístico Portuense. From 1881, he taught sculpture at the Porto School of Fine Arts, although he disagreed with the organisation of the teaching.


Soares dos Reis was admired by his contemporaries, received commissions, took part in competitions and exhibitions and designed public monuments. Illness and dissatisfaction led him to commit suicide in his studio in 1889.