"Dame" (the carnation girl)

Amadeo de Souza Cardoso1913/1913

Museu do Caramulo

Museu do Caramulo
Caramulo, Portugal

  • Title: "Dame" (the carnation girl)
  • Creator: Souza-Cardoso, Amadeo de
  • Date: 1913/1913
  • Technique/Material: Oil on wood
  • Physical Dimensions: w28 x h40 cm (Without frame)
  • Exhibition: Caramulo, Portugal
  • Donated by:: Maria Madalena de Lacerda
  • Description: Undoubtedly the most important Portuguese artist of the first half of the 20th century, through his intuitive concordance with the vanguard of western painting and his experimentation with unusual pictorial paths, Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso, who settled in Paris from 1906 to 1914, developed a form of painting that moved from a precious and fairly decorative drawing to something that was close to the analytical cubism that immediately evolved, in a most pioneering fashion, into abstraction. This evolution took place in the paradigmatic year of 1913, during which this small picture was painted. The centre of the composition is marked by an “X”, which signals the waist of a standing female figure, wearing a long white dress and a scarf over her head, which is depicted in profile. The woman’s body is laid out frontally and vertically through its decomposition into facets, in which there are echoes of the analytical phase that Picasso and Braque had already passed through. The lines of force of the painting as a whole converge towards the centre of the composition. These lines are heavily marked in black, not only the lines of the figure’s trunk, shoulders, arms and dress, but also, above all, the lines of the table which is laid out behind her, decomposed in the sense of perspective into a profile view on the left side and a dynamic contre-plongée on the right. At the left, on the table, is a flower pot with carnations held by the figure, a detail of a still life with an equally composite perspective, dynamically expressed through a comma-shaped line that is repeated throughout the body and outlines of the figure, an unusual decorative feature that Amadeo repeated in other paintings from this period. In the same way, and in contrast to the Cubist orthodoxy, the composition is invaded by colour, in a range of reds, yellows, greens, blues and ochres, in which it is also possible to detect the influence of Robert Delaunay, one of the painter’s Parisian acquaintances. Such a suggestion is extended to the background of the composition, where the contrasts in colour combine with a somewhat Cubist and fancifully given composition.
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Museu do Caramulo