Culture

Amor de Perdição – the tragic story of an impossible love
3 December, 2019 / ,

Amor de Perdição is a novel written by Camilo Castelo Branco, in 1862, which narrates the tragic story of young love.  The tale, based on true facts, was written when Camilo was imprisoned and living a forbidden love himself.

It is one of the most renowned romances in Portuguese literature. The book has already been translated into several languages and adapted to the cinema four times, including a version directed by the famed Manoel de Oliveira. Amor de Perdição is also the name of the street where the current Centro Português de Fotografia stands (Portuguese Photography Centre), and a former prison (Cadeia da Relação do Porto) where Camilo Castelo Branco wrote his most famous work whilst awaiting trial for adultery. The name of the street is thus a tribute to the illustrious book.

Camilo Castelo Branco had been accused with adultery: he fell in love with Ana Plácido; her husband found out and charged both lovers for adultery. Both were arrested, trialled and later acquitted. They later married, but didn’t live happily ever after. Camilo committed suicide in 1890 after living his last few years blind and disease-ridden. Whilst in prison, the writer found in the jail’s logs details for a story their family had once told him: of his uncle Simão Botelho, imprisoned and convicted to exile for murdering a rival in a love relationship.

From then on, Camilo wrote the story of Simão e Teresa, born into rival families from Viseu. A forbidden love, which resembles Romeo and Juliet, with an equally tragic ending. Teresa was to marry a cousin, Baltasar Coutinho, who she rejected due to her love for Simão. Hurt, Baltasar convinced her lover’s dad to send her to the Convento de Monchique, in Porto. Interestingly, the convent building is still there however very degraded.

Desperate, Simão awaited his rival outside the city of Viseu and shot and killed his rival. He turned himself in and was imprisoned at the Cadeia da Relação do Porto, until convicted of exile in India. On the way, and whilst sailing by the Convent, he was able to see the figure of his lover who died seconds later consumed by grief.  After Simão found out about Teresa’s death, he too died. Camilo’s uncle didn’t have such a tragic ending since he made it to exile where he lived until his death. But the story of the tragic love was forever perpetuated in the pages of the book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Eagle and the Lion
21 November, 2019 / , ,

A few years ago, walking along Avenida da Boavista accompanied by my two older nephews…

― Kids, who knows what is that up there?!

— It’s the Eagle and the Lion in Rotunda da Boavista (Boavista Roundabout)!

I smiled while thinking of how right – and also how wrong – the answer was.

The Monument to the Heroes of the Peninsular War was designed by architect Marques da Silva and sculptor Alves de Sousa. Its construction, under the responsibility of the Cooperativa dos Pedreiros, began in 1909, but the monument was only to be inaugurated in 1952, after the premature death of Alves de Sousa, so its completion was the responsibility of sculptors Henrique Moreira and José Sousa Caldas.

The monument is intended to honour the heroes of the Peninsular War, fought in the context of the French invasions, which opposed Portugal – helped by their ally England – to the French armies of Napoleon Bonaparte, in the period from 1808 to 1814.

My nephews didn’t know this part, but as their tender age did not recommend “wars”, I ended up explaining to them that there was a bit of a bad Frenchman who wanted only cheese to be eaten in Portugal! So, we asked our English friends for help and sent the French “to hell” with their cheese! At the time, I couldn’t think of any better nonsense explanation, but they retained the correct basic idea. I hope…

Composed of a pedestal 45 metres high and surrounded by sculptural groups that represent artillery scenes, the monument features a woman – Vitória – in front of the people, holding the national flag in her left hand and a sword in her right hand. At the top, a high column topped by a lion (symbol of the flag of England) over an eagle (symbol of Napoleon’s empire), elements that gave it the popular name for which it is known.

 

Apolo Terrasse – The forgotten movie theater
7 November, 2019 / , , ,

Few remember this movie theater, built at the beginning of the 20th century and demolished in the late 1940s to give way to the current Rua de Ceuta. The Apolo Terrasse came at a time when the cinema was gaining popularity.

At first, the films started out by being projected in shacks or in arge stores in the city, but, as the public’s interest increased and the film production
diversified, specific spaces for film viewing were built. Most of these places of entertainment are now just memories. One of them was the Apolo Terrasse, which was built in 1912. It was located where Rua de Ceuta is today and its main access was through Rua José Falcão. It had two more
entrances: one on the ground floor of a house in Rua de Santa Teresa and another through the middle of backyards that descended to Rua da Picaria. Despite its discreet location and decorative simplicity, the building stood out for its large, imposing iron structure, which served as a vestibule.

The Apolo Terrasse was also built so that it could be used for other types of shows and sporting events.
On the other hand, the two floor construction, connected by two staircases and lateral balconies, brought great concern due to fire prevention.
The lighting, made by globe-shaped lamps, was another element of modernity in this space.

Source: O Tripeiro, 7ª Série, Ano XXXV, Número 1,
janeiro e fevereiro de 2016.

Bust of Homage to Guilherme Gomes Fernandes
13 August, 2019 / , ,

By the author Bento Cândido da Silva, the bust of the Commander of the Firemen of Porto, Guilherme Gomes Fernandes, was inaugurated in 1915 in the square that has since adorned the name of this illustrious personage.

Guilherme Gomes Fernandes was born in Bahia on February 6, 1850. At the age of three he went to live in Porto and at thirteen he left for England with the intention of attending high school.

At the age of 19, Gomes Fernandes settled in the city of Porto. Years later, he helped found the Associação Humanitária dos Bombeiros Voluntários (1874-75) and the Corpo de Salvação Pública. He was appointed Commander of the Fire Department in 1877 and Inspector of Fire of Porto in 1885. He then transferred to Companhia de Incêndios, assuming the position of commander. He also developed business activity in the area of journalism, having created and directed the newspaper “O Bombeiro Voluntário”, published between 1877 and 1890.

Guilherme Gomes Fernandes was also notable, among other actions, in the fight against the tragic fire of the Baquet Theater in 1888.

His contribution to the progress of the firefighters in Porto and in the country earned him the title of “Master”, as well as prestigious national and international decorations.

Guilherme Gomes Fernandes died in Lisbon, Hospital of S. José, on October 31, 1902.

 

Pinwheels in the city of Porto
12 August, 2019 / ,

The origin of the pinwheels is not clearly indicated in history, but some historians believe that the first one was born in Persia during the year 915 BC. Others believe that in Iraq, Egypt or China there are indications of the use of even more remote windmills. However, it was not until the twelfth century that windmills were introduced to Europe.

This small device has facilitated many agricultural processes such as grinding grain, pumping water, drainage of land, among many others.

Whether used as mere decoration or to fulfill their designated function, the pinwheels are spread over the top of many buildings in the city of Porto!

Street Art
9 August, 2019 / ,

This is an art not yet understood by many. With a negative history associated, where vandalism and the destruction of public spaces were the watchwords, people look suspiciously at the artists who perform these type of works.

Nowadays, in an attempt to change mindsets and demystify this art form, projects are emerging all over the city of Porto.

Raul Pinto has a degree in Graphic Design at ESAD – Escola Superior de Artes e Design and is know in this world of art as Kilos. In 2018, he had his first solo exhibition at the Dedicated Store Porto, entitled “DEDICATED to Kilos”. This year, Suuuper (Porto) held his second solo exhibition at entitled “Shhh!”. Get to know some of his works!

S. João Novo Church
22 May, 2019 / , ,

Built on the escarpment down to the Douro, in a place called “Boa Vista”, stands one of the most significant religious buildings in the historic center of Porto. The Igreja de S. João Novo was built in the middle of the 16th century and displays great artistic and architectural similarities with the Church of S. Lourenço.

The building, with a Latin cross plan, was built just above the former hermitage of S. João Belmonte. The building also took advantage of the wall that anchored the construction of the church and its monastery. Outside, it is possible to observe parts of the wall and follow its path. Inside the church, there are several carved altars, from the Baroque period (17th century) and tiles from the same period.

In the main altar, enriched with altarpiece, dating from the period between 1757 and 1766, is a moving screen reserved for the theme of the Vision of St. Augustine. The work is attributed to João Glama Stroberle, painter of German origin, who was born in Lisbon in 1708. In the same high altar it is also possible to observe a mausoleum that captures the attention of anyone due to its magnificent decoration – the author of the work is unknown.

The Alto Coro of the church consists of a single-row chair and on the side of the Gospel there is a pipe organ. Also noteworthy are the tiles alluding to the life of Santa Rita de Cássia, by Bartolomeu Antunes, located on the side altar of Santa Rita, the image of Santo Ovídeo and the image of Our Lady of Guia, by Manuel Miranda, located  collateral to the altar. Also of great interest is the altar of Senhor dos Passos, located on the right side; the image of the invocation of Jesus Christ is of great dimensions and presents features, deeply, realistic. It is probably the image that stands in this lateral altar that was brought out for the traditional Senhor dos Passos procession.

In front of the church we can find the Palácio S. João Novo, built at the end of the XVIII century, in Baroque style and that many attribute to Nicolau Nasoni.

Although it is closed more than a decade ago, the Palace served as a hospital during the Siège of Porto, in the Liberal Wars, and later as a Museum of Ethnography.

In addition to the similarities with the church of the former Jesuit College of S. Lourenço, the Church of S. João Novo also reveals the influence of the Igreja dos Grilos, due to the composition of the facade and the interior design.

The building is suitable for people with physical limitations and although it is closed on Sundays, it is possible to visit the Church of S. João Novo from Monday to Saturday, free of charge.

This year, the Church of S. João Novo is one of the spaces in the city of Porto that integrates the programming of In Spiritum – the festival proposes the discovery of the historical heritage through music.

Exhibition Escher in Alfandega
29 March, 2019 / , , ,

Hey Porto spoke with Frederico Guidiceandrea, onde of the exhibition curators and a major expert on M.C. Escher’s work

– What can people expect from this exhibition in Porto?

The exhibition covers the entire artistic career of MC Escher, starting from the early works that reflect the influence of his teacher, Jesserun de Mesquita, a major exponent of the art nouveau in the Netherlands. An important space is dedicated to the italian period, the nocturnal images of Rome, the southern Italian landscapes and studies of nature.

In the following sections the most famous works are represented: the tessellations, the impossible buildings, ribbons, regular solids, reflecting surfaces and metamorphosis. The exhibition continues with occasional works that MC Escher created on commission such as bookplates, greeting cards, postage stamps and more.

The exhibition closes with a large space devoted to the Eschermania. Here, evidence of the influence of MC Escher on the iconography of the 20th and 21st century. Book covers, psychedelic posters, LP covers, comics, magazines, videoclips and works of contemporary artists who were inspired by MC Escher.

Throughout the exhibition a series of experiential games leads the visitor into the world of MC Escher. They experience the paradoxes of perception encoded by the laws of Gestalt and  physically enter into some of MC Escher’s works.

– How would you define Escher’s art?

The art of MC Escher can be interpreted in layers. At first wonder prevails, then if you look deeper you will discover more and more details: paradoxes of perception, mathematical structures, references to the Italian landscape and to the great artists of the past. Every time I set up an exhibition, even having seen the works hundreds of times, I always discover something new.

– Which are his main references?

The main influence especially in his early work is certainly to be found in the art of his master, Jesserun de Mesquita, who was an important exponent of the Dutch Art Noveau. Later in Italy he came into contact with exponents of Futurism, in particular with the art movement called ‘Areopittura’ who loved to depict scenes and landscapes from above with an unusual use of perspective. In the later works the greatest influence came from the contacts with the world of mathematics, especially the correspondence with important mathematicians such Roger Penrose or Harlod Coxeter were the basis of many of the iconic works.

– Escher is intriguing, disturbing, disconcerting, a true genious. Do you agree?

Yes, his work captures many of the trends in the technological society. Modern scientific theories such as the theory of relativity and quantum physics have profoundly changed the way we see the world. The world is not as it appears, on a very large or very small scale it can be very counter-intuitive and paradoxical. MC Escher, through his tessellations and impossible structures, opens a window that allows us to grasp the complexity of the world.

 

 

 

In our city of Porto
29 March, 2019 / , , ,

In our city of Porto, a town of great ancestry, the discovery of its origins and the understanding of its urban fabric is, of course, an extensive and endless program. The twentieth century would give us one of the most representative and consistent chronicler and investigator of the history of the city.

On March 4, 1894 Artur de Magalhães Basto was born at number 556 of the so-called Duquesa de Bragança Street, in a distinctly well-designed house built by his father António José de Magalhães Basto, circa 1875, then architect and professor of the Academy Portuense of Fine Arts José Geraldo da Silva Sardinha.

His training in Law at the University of Lisbon would serve him well in the future, as from a very young age his  interest in research and paleography became apparent , namely through his teaching career integrating him in  the first Modern Language Faculty of the city, where he lectured  between 1922 and 1931. Being part of the City Hall of Porto up to his death, on June 3, 1960, heading as from 1934, the Services of Palaeography and Manuscripts of the library;  and as from 1938 became Director of the Office of History of the City and became head of cultural services,  until 1960. He was also Director of the Porto District Archive from 1939, as well as head of the great Office of the Holy House of Mercy of Porto, since 1933.

But it is as a chronicler of the city that Magalhães Basto would stand out: from his writing would flow the most diverse themes of history and art always linked to the city of which we will give just a few examples: the indispensable “Falam Velhos Manuscritos”, 1445 weekly articles in the Oporto newspaper The 1º de Janeiro “between 1930 and 1960; and his fundamental articles in the magazine of History of the city “The Tripeiro”, of which he would be director between 1945 and 1960. Some of his 160 published works are transcriptions of conferences, one of his specialties, for us worthy of special reference , because of the urgency and style with which he was able to reach out to us all, without discrimination, in a very simple and direct way, his historical narrative and his studies about Our City of Porto. In fact, these lectures would be a way of counteracting the silence, the solitude of “Poeira dos Arquivos”, his natural routine, as he would so well refer to in a February 1960 text: “How boring a life must be, or even a year, a day, or even a single hour, all alone in an arquive, to read, to decipher old paper, crumpled, yellowed by time, gnawed by rats, holed by moth, and stale air.

Our beloved and distinguished researcher died at his last residence, in Oporto, at nr. 500  Gondarém street,  a dignified note left by Professor Luís Duarte in the  exhibition catalogue dedicated by the master in 2005 in the Palace Gallery : “We realize that in the history country, there was a before and after of the magisterium and the work of Artur de Magalhães Basto”.

 

THE MESSENGER, by IRENE VILAR
13 February, 2019 / ,

A statue planted by the river that brings hope to the city of Porto

Irene Vilar was born in Matosinhos in 1930 and is the owner of a vast work in many countries such as Germany, South Africa, Brazil, Belgium, Holland and Macau. Distinguished throughout the life with several prizes, the artist affirmed itself in diverse areas like the sculpture, numismatics, medalhística and painting. It was about five decades of artistic production and affirmation that won him several prizes and distinctions

The artist had since very young a great connection to Foz do Douro, where she lived from the age of 19 and where she set up her atelier.

One of her most emblematic works is undoubtedly “The Messenger”. Sculpture in bronze – one her materials of choice -, expressionistic, majestically marks the bank of the Douro River next to Cais de Sobreiras, in Foz do Douro.

Inaugurated in 2001, “The Messenger”, or “The Angel” as is commonly known by the people of Porto, brought, according to the author ” good hope to the city of Porto.” Maybe that’s why it has become almost a place of worship, where people lay flowers and candles at its feet.

Irene Vilar died at the age of 77 in 2008.