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View of Penha de França

Tomás da Anunciação1857

National Museum of Contemporary Art - Museu do Chiado

National Museum of Contemporary Art - Museu do Chiado
Lisboa, Portugal

Work of tightly scenographic character, with its two large trees as "stage curtains", this painting reflects the idea defended by Anunciação according to which the landscape must be collected "in the natural" and executed in the studio. Captured in the then rural site of Penha de França, the central theme of the composition, it presents little committed formal treatment and a palette of tedious browns. Likely reflection of the discouragement caused by the death of his brother and consequent request to the Academy (not satisfied) for exemption of the exam, this piece manifests the recent interest by the registration over the reason that constitutes the essential of the pictorial renovation in this period.
Ramalho Ortigão ironically dubbed the two leafy trees placed in the foreground. Considering them "chocolate", it expresses in this way the discomfort of the new criticism which, after admitting Anunciação as the founder of Portuguese genre painting, quickly begins to accuse him of monotony and artificialism.
The most interesting in this work is its iconography, representing the bucolic character of the Lisbon confines where urbanization was restricted to the excellent stain of the church and the convent of Penha de França.
No wonder why in the city, where industrialization was barely a guess, the painters dwelt on the registry of ethnographic motifs, synthesizing their experience and their sentiments which were also those of the amateurs of art.
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