This painting confirms the expressive qualities of João Vaz, in the way that he captures fleeting moments of light. Choosing a solitary place as the theme for his composition, he effectively suggests that history is to be found there, both in the monumentalised body of the fortress and in the presence of the boat that will set out to sea and engage in the hard labour of fishing. Between the one and the other (which together define the grounds of the painting in fluid diagonals), a wedge of light is drawn that mimics the triangular shape of the boat or the suggestion of a non-existent sail. The sea is a presence that is hinted at in the fringe of sky, as well as in the houses peeping over the dark walls of the fortress. These absences, which are rendered present in brief suggestions, enhance the beauty of the theme, a space between sea and land, the latter wandering over the former, which remains sedentary in the warm protection of the humanised landscape.
In choosing a piece of reality, the painter intends this to be an allegory of a totality in which men and their constructions are inscribed in the potentialities and designs of geography. However, this intention is resolved, seemingly entirely, in the pictorial construction of its evocation: light and shadows that will be rapidly altered by the advancing night. Aware of the fleeting nature of his theme, João Vaz immobilises what the eyes can see, darkening things and leaving an atmospheric feeling hovering over the scene, in keeping with the ideas of naturalism, whose great theme is to recreate the light and to submit the forms to its transfiguring action, through the variability of its colours. Without sacrificing any of its identifiable verisimilitude, or, in other words, causing them to be represented as images of themselves.
Raquel Henriques da Silva


  • Title: Excerpt from Buarcos Beach
  • Creator: João Vaz
  • Date Created: Undated
  • Physical Location: Grâo Vasco Nacional Museum, Viseu, Portugal
  • Physical Dimensions: 38 cm x 61 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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