Functional and humorous piece depicting the popular figure of Zé Povinho, the Portuguese everyman, who serves as a lid for a small barrel. The character was created by the artist for the newspaper A Lanterna Mágica, in June 1875, and enjoyed a long life in political and social commentary in the pages of various periodicals. The originally drawn figure was subsequently made out of clay, just as successfully, and became a theme and decoration for faïence. This image of the Portuguese people, represented here in the ‘Up Yours’ gesture, the crude ‘bras d’honneur’ and its only weapon of protest, gives this pot its name. In visual terms, the figure is glazed on the clothes and hair, while the flesh tones are painted on. This search for a likeness to reality can be seen in the modelling and colouring of the barrel, imitating materials and building methods, in a deliberate ethnographic register that forms part of the artist’s programme in search of a national identity. The piece was mass produced.


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