The sands, the forests and the clouds

Portuguese landscapes

In the collection acquired by Dr. Anastácio Gonçalves the theme of landscape occupies an important nucleus, consisting of several works by Silva Porto, Marques de Oliveira - both completed their studies in Paris - and mostly by the following naturalist painters. Anastácio Gonçalves was especially interested in nineteenth-century Portuguese naturalist works.

Spring (1882) by Silva PortoAnastácio Gonçalves House-Museum

The "Divine Master" of Portuguese Naturalism

António Carvalho da Silva Porto (Porto, 1850 – Lisbon,
1893) is one of the more represented painters in Anastácio Gonçalves' collection. Having returned in 1879 from France, he brought a new style that would reveal to be exceptionally well suited to national taste. He was professor of younger painters, with some of which he formed the so-called "Grupo do Leão" (1881-1889),  because they met in the former Cervejaria Leão de Ouro (Golden Lion Brewery) in Lisbon, nowadays a restaurant. Their portrait can be seen at the National Museum of Contemporary Art / Museum of Chiado, painted in 1885 by Columbano. At the end of the 19th
century, while Portugal's industrialization, Silva Porto executed
several paintings depicting Portuguese landscapes with or without human
presence, in a rural country, with its ethnographical traditions and motifs
associated with rural life. 

Poppies organise visually the emsemble of Spring, as their little spots punctuate the composition with warm colours.

The harvest (Lumiar) (1884) by Silva PortoAnastácio Gonçalves House-Museum

Considered one of Silva Porto's masterpieces, The crop (Lumiar, Lisbon) represents a crop of wheat, after harvesting. The field opens to the immensity of the space that extends, also, in the vastness of the sky, much more than a bluish stain. A moving sky, radiating, traveled by light. The warm shades, in a light game of shadow and light, mark the space in depth.

Lumiar/Alta de Lisboa is now a densely populated neighbourhood of Lisbon, while this painting captured this same area as the rural landscape it was over a century ago.

The water of the mill (1881/1893) by Silva PortoAnastácio Gonçalves House-Museum

Silva Porto through painting sought to express with "fidelity" and "truth", the motive directly in nature, seeking to interpret the solar luminosity of the national landscape.

Moor in the Alentejo (1881/1889) by Silva PortoAnastácio Gonçalves House-Museum

Silva Porto practiced an open-air painting, valuing the spot, the unfinished, and the full capture of the moment he witnessed, often in a simple corner of nature, as shown in this Moorland of Alentejo. A serene and balanced composition where the flatness of the moorland gains intelligibility through the rhythmic chain of cork oaks.

Marina (1908) by Marques de OliveiraAnastácio Gonçalves House-Museum

Marques de Oliveira and the following painters

Marques de Oliveira (1853-1927) returned to Portugal in 1879, as Silva Porto, and then became professor in Oporto's Academy of Fine Arts, being the other master of Naturalism in Portugal.

Marina (1883) by D. Carlos I King of PortugalAnastácio Gonçalves House-Museum

Anastácio Gonçalves also bought watercolours, such as this Seascape painted by King Dom Carlos of Bragança (1863-1908) in 1883, when this royal prince still lived in Palace of Ajuda (Lisbon) and his father reigned.

Beach in Leça (1892) by António RamalhoAnastácio Gonçalves House-Museum

In 1892, António Ramalho paints the Beach of Leça, displaying the landscape of the north coast of Portugal, the way of living there and some activities connected to the sea.

The chapel is near the ocean for the sailors' prayers, and facing the sky from which good winds may come. António Ramalho left on purpose some parts of the canvas with no paint.

The fisherman stands for the "portrait", carrying a basquet for the fish. The typical black cap protects both from the windy cold and from the sun. Many blueish greens and grey brushes materialize the coast landscape.

The beach (1900) by João VazAnastácio Gonçalves House-Museum

Painters such as João Vaz followed Silva Porto's teachings. One third of the canvas is occupied with the sand and the sea of The beach, as two thirds of this marine are dedicated to the sky, which opens the space.

Three women carry wicker basquets filled with seaweed, used as a fertilizer for crops. Their long skirts are rolled up with typical scarves in order to facilitate their movements.

In The beach the sea is not the essential element, but the space is, an atmospheric space, certainly painted in site.

Figueira da Foz beach (1935) by Mário AugustoAnastácio Gonçalves House-Museum

The Beach of Figueira da Foz reveals the newly acquired taste of spending holidays on the beach. Mário Augusto immortalizes the beach of Figueira da Foz, with its extensive sand shore, seen from an elevated perspective, drawing it in its extension, parallel to the sinuous line of the sea. This is a chromatically balanced composition that goes and comes from the neutral shades of the sand to the distant Serra da Boa Viagem (Mountain of the Good Journey). The loose of the brushstroke, in the figurative construction of the landscape, makes the population apparently alleatory with the bathers, throughout the sand and beach tents.

The Beach of Figueira da Foz shows the artist's ability to compose and explore the possibilities of space and treatment of colours and inks. The variety of applications and treatments of colours and inks produces textures and nuances to the general composition.

The cacti (1932) by Mário AugustoAnastácio Gonçalves House-Museum

Another landscape by Mário Augusto, geographically belonging to the municipal district of Figueira da Foz and executed in the early twentieth century. Light bulbs scattered across the surface of the canvas produce a versatile illumination that accompanies the expressiveness of the shapes of the cacti that seem to move in different directions. Some shapes are valued by their well defined contour line, advancing to the foreground as opposed to the rest of the landscape. The trees and the sun, in the background, are bold spots.

The afternoon (1932) by Mário AugustoAnastácio Gonçalves House-Museum

Anastácio Gonçalves bought several works of this late naturalist painter. Nature capture in Alhadas, Mário Augusto's birthplace. The agaves with linearly defined outlines stand out from the rest of the landscape advancing perceptibly to the foreground. Everything vanishes around it, and this effect is achieved through the spatulation technique, in which the oil paint is spread through a spatula, valuing the spot and the lack of definition of the natural elements. It interprets light by creating luminous focuses that function as disseminating centres.

A detail reveals the drawing work of the cactus (maguey), as well as the referred use of spatula and brush, in order to obtain various types of surfaces, levels and visual effects.

The water-mill (1900/1940) by Carlos ReisAnastácio Gonçalves House-Museum

Carlos Reis (Torres Novas, 1863-1940), one of the second generation of Portuguese naturalist painters, painted this watermill, revealing again Naturalism's concern about the rural rhetoric and its landscape inventory, in a changing world.

The pulpit of Saint John (1887) by João VazAnastácio Gonçalves House-Museum

In an architectural aspect, in its amplitude of constructed Portuguese space, are considered two interiors of churches painted by João Vaz. The composition of the Pulpit of the Church of St. John Baptist at Tomar is dominated by vertical lines, balanced by the elements around the pulpit, such as its stairs, the round arch which leads to the side chapel behind, and the two kneeling figures that catch our attention and stand under the suspending lamp. Over all, João Vaz suggests in a plastic way the spiritual experience related to the theme of the painting, as well as he evoques the historic relevance of this particular church.

Though empty, the pulpit of St. John and the pillar that sustains it form the centre of the composition. The embossed pulpit’s decoration, from 1513, points out two symbols - the cross of Christ and the coat of arms of Portugal - related to King Manuel 1st, who was patron of this church.

Church Interior (19th Century) by João VazAnastácio Gonçalves House-Museum

Inside the Church (Igreja Matriz - Main Church - of Viana do Alentejo), the round arches continuously open the space's horizontal levels, displayed by the bright light of the region.

Anta Espinho (1900) by Marques de OliveiraAnastácio Gonçalves House-Museum

Some place in Anta (Espinho) inspired Marques de Oliveira to give new expression to landscape. Late work, it dignifies the theme of landscape as pictorial motive for the visual appropriation of the painter, translated into pictorial matter. On the one hand, it combines almost-scientific concerns with the definition of detail, as with the liquid component, on the other hand, applies extensive greenish spots, a natural green and a background with soft two-dimensional trees in gestures of assumed modernity that reminds the painter Corot.

Snowfall (Carnaxide) (1900/1950) by Silva LinoAnastácio Gonçalves House-Museum

In this Snowfall, Silva Lino registered the unusual sight of Carnaxide's landscape with snow, near Lisbon; where now there are also many buildings. Silva Lino depicts plastically the fluctuations of light in a landscape with few color contrasts. It is similar to a photographic record. The permanence of the nineteenth century aesthetic is evident.

Spring (1850/1907) by Alfredo KeilAnastácio Gonçalves House-Museum

Romantic landscapes

The mountain of Sintra has been inspiring religious, poets, writers and artists for centuries.

Pathway from the woods (Sintra) (1865) by Tomás da AnunciaçãoAnastácio Gonçalves House-Museum

Prior to Naturalism, Tomás da Anunciação was one of the main representatives of the Portuguese Romantic painters as well as an animalist. His Woodland landscape (Sintra?) expresses the dramatic grandeur of nature, emphasized by the cenographic composition. The main lines of force were captured by the painter directly in front of the subject, finishing it later at his studio.

Spring (1850/1907) by Alfredo KeilAnastácio Gonçalves House-Museum

The Spring, painted in 1882, is a very large painting comparing to the usual intimist scale of Alfredo Keil (1850-1907). The artist combines the natural romantic atmosphere of the Mountain of Sintra, with the sublime sense of Romanticism perfectly expressed in the contrasting scale of the forest and the human figures, emphasized by the shadows of the trees. Anastácio Gonçalves also acquired the preparatory sketch of this work.

Standing facing the trail surrounded by Spring's flowers, a woman and a very little girl - typically dressed - announce the walk through the magnificent forest, representing themselves the rebirth of nature. Both of them wear scarves on the hair and the woman carries a clay vase.

The landscape of Sintra is very well shown, revealing its magical romantic atmosphere.

Take a walk and feel the romantic spirit of Sintra!

Credits: Story

CMAG - Casa-Museu Anastácio Gonçalves
DGPC - Direção Geral do Património Cultural
Ministério da Cultura

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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