The reference work of this period is "O Grupo do Leão", painted for the Leão de Ouro brewery, located in Rua do Príncipe - now 1º de Dezembro - on the occasion of a remodeling, in which it started to integrate a restaurant with new decoration and where the naturalist group had been in Bohemian life since the beginning of the decade. Moreover, the group assumed the name of the house and on this occasion all decided to collaborate with works for the new decoration. Columbano was assigned the portrait of the group, which would appear at the entrance, the only portrait of this naturalistic generation of Lisbon and was exposed there until 1945. In it are represented, from left to right, Henrique Pinto, sitting; Ribeiro Cristino; José Malhoa; João Vaz; Alberto de Oliveira; Silva Porto, in the center, in the place of the head of school; António Ramalho; Manuel Fidalgo, the waiter; Moura Girão; Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro, just below his brother; Columbano, in top hat; António Monteiro, the owner of the brewery; Cipriano Martins and, sitting with his hand on his waist, Rodrigues Vieira. Columbano would have seen "Hommage à Delacroix" (1864) or Fantin Latour's "Coin de table" (1872) in Paris, and certainly these collective portraits may have pleased him, and also because the motif is broadly represented in sixteenth and seventeenth-century Dutch painting, from Rembrandt to Franz Hals, appearing in those cases reformulated within modern proposals, but avoiding any radicalism of the vanguard. With this painting, Columbano went further than Fantin Latour in the modernity of his proposals, albeit at a different time, and concluded a phase of his work, the one that had the greatest representation in the salons of modern paintings.


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