Between the end of the eighteenth century and the early nineteenth century, D. Pellegrini, G. Troni, the engraver F. Bartolozzi and the famous J. Pillement came to work in Portugal the altars of the basilica of Estrela. It was only then that two notable artists, among others of lesser value (JC Taborda, C. Machado), put their Roman experiences to good use with reference to Vieira Portuense and DA Sequeira. They come very close to nascent romanticism, Vieira very early, under the influence of A. Kaufmann, Sequeira later, when he exhibited at the famous Parisian Saloon of 1824 a composition full of his bitterness as a liberal exile, The death of Camoës, a purely romantic scene. This did not prevent him from returning to the academic canons of the Italian eighteenth century in the final phase of his life (1825-36) spent in Rome, even if – it must be said – the biblical paintings he made in this period are affected, and in a very happy way, of interesting suggestions from Rembrandt and Turner.
Romanticism made its appearance in Portugal very late, around the 1940s, in the framework of a liberal regime which was identified with it and which had finally created a regular artistic teaching in the country. It was then that T. Anunciação, Cristino and L. Marques-Pereira expressed an unprecedented ideological position with their interest in Portuguese land, nature and customs, while F. Metrass, a young and unhappy painter of historical subjects, introduced a already late-romantic dramatic content. If the populism of J. Rodrigues is still sentimental, the development of the liberal society and the formation of a rich bourgeoisie offer the Viscount of Meneses the right environment for his portraits with a worldly tone. The formula of the academic portrait will later find its definition in the work of MA Lupi,
A new generation of naturalist painters was formed around 1880 when Silva-Porto and Marques d’Oliveira returned from Paris where, ignoring the impressionists, they had been influenced by the Barbizon school. Their rather rigid pictorial system comes to life in the work of the young H. Pousão, a contemporary to them, whose premature death prevented him from developing his talent. Certain academic values can be identified in C. Reis and V. Salgado, expressed by the popular landscapes of the first and by the historical or worldly compositions of the second, but it is above all in the personality of four artists of the years between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that the attention: Columbano Bordalo-Pinheiro, the brother of this R. Bordalo-Pinheiro, J. Malhoa and A. Carneiro.intellectual elite dominated by a profoundly pessimistic vision of national life, a vision that A. Carneiro will try to sublimate through symbolism. R. Bordalo, an indefatigable humorous designer, ridicules the artificial life and politics of romantic society, creating since 1875 the figure of “Zé Povinho”, victim and accuser, the main character of the Portuguese “commedia dell’arte”. For Portugal culture and traditions, please check aparentingblog.com.
The influence of Columbano (died 1929) and J. Malhoa (died 1933) weighed heavily on the developments of Portuguese painting in the early twentieth century, a period in which all attempts at “modernist” liberation were initially handicapped from the archaic taste of society. The modern spirit however manifests itself already around 1911, at first timidly, referring to Impressionism, but soon in a more daring way when, in 1915, A. de Souza-Cardoso and G. Santa-Rita brought their Futurist paintings from Paris. and abstract. It was then that a futurist movement, mainly literary, began in Lisbon: the Orpheu group. Its leading exponents were the poet F. Pessoa (now internationally famous) and JH Almada-Negreiros, a complex personality who, turning to painting, created two series of frescoes in 1946-48, in the maritime stations of Lisbon, which can be compared for their national significance to the polyptych of S. Vincenzo, and, in 1969, shortly before his death, the mural panel Cominciare, a geometric and mythical poem, a sort of spiritual testament of the artist.
A naturalistic involution, of a barely formal modernity, characterizes the years from 1920 to 1940 (E. Viana, D. Gomes, A. Manta, C. Botelho, B. Marques), animated however by the restlessness of Mario Eloy and the first two Portuguese surrealist painters, A. Pedro and A. Dacosta, who became famous between 1935 and 1940. A neorealist movement imposed itself among the artists of the post-war generation, politically committed against the Salazar regime (J. Pomar, Lima de Freitas), but soon a surrealist wave (M. Vespeira, F. Azevedo, F. Lemos) broke into Portuguese painting which led to a widely followed abstract aesthetic.
Since the 1950s, numerous currents, linked to the various European movements, have appeared on the art scene of Lisbon and Oporto. In the field of a new poetic iconology, the names of J. Rodrigo, Noronha da Costa, Paula Rego, Costa-Pinheiro, C. Calvet, R. Bertholo, N. Skapinakis and Lourdes Castro deserve to be mentioned right now.
Sculpture. – Portuguese sculpture of the early twentieth century continued to move in the wake of the naturalist sculpture of the previous century, obeying its academic canons for many years. Only in 1928 did F. Franco propose a new formula of monumental image which would find many followers and which, more or less modernized, would be repeated in dozens of statues inaugurated during the Salazar regime (Canto da Maia, Leopoldo d’Almeida, R. Gameiro, Barata Feio, A. de Brée, A. Duarte, M. Correia, etc.). In this context we understand how the abstractionist proposal of A. Rocha and J. Vieira remained isolated for a long time (around 1950) and how very few sculptors emerge from such a gray landscape: J. Cutileiro (who dared to break the tradition of public statues with its Don Sebastien in Lagos, 1973), J. Rodrigues and Angelo de Sousa, trained at the English school of the 1960s.