A Glimpse Of The Portuguese Painting History

Well, as you might know, Portugal is first and foremost known for arts and crafts such as tapestry, weaving, Fado music, jewelry, basketry, painted tiles and ceramics. But there are also quite a few Portuguese painters that left their mark in the international painting world.

Since its very beginnings, Portuguese artists paid attention to using high quality materials and techniques. The knowledge has been passed on from generation to generation. And over the centuries, many different styles have been developed in the different areas of art and craftsmanship. It is also important to mention that until today, talented and skilled Portuguese artists and crafters enjoy a very good reputation and are well-respected by their fellow countrymen- and women.

A Glimpse Of The Portuguese Painting History by subcultours

History of Portuguese Painting

In this article, we focus on Portuguese painting and the creators behind.

It is said that Portuguese artists started to pick up their first painting skills back in the 15th century. They have been influenced by Flemish painters that were already way advanced in their techniques and styles. In the early days, Portuguese painters could make a living with their art with religious and portrait painting. So, basically commission-based painting for either the church or the private elite.

A Glimpse Of The Portuguese Painting History by subcultours_religion

Only a few decades later, painters got more and more influenced by their natural environment and took their inspiration from Portugal’s stunning eucalyptus trees, mighty ocean cliffs, beautiful golden grass and cork trees. Many Portuguese painters valued especially the natural light which they tried to mirror in their own paintings.

A Glimpse Of The Portuguese Painting History by subcultours

5 Famous Portuguese Painters

To name five of Portugal’s most famous oil painters, let’s start with Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro.

Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro

Columbano Pinheiro lived between 1857 and 1929 and was known as a Portuguese realist painter. Columbano, one of the greatest Portuguese painters of the 19th century, specialised in portrait painting early in his career. He was lucky to get introduced to Portugal’s high society and was able to show them his extraordinary work and his eye for details. The Portuguese painter was able to reflect the painted person’s personality and to create an incredible warmth in his artworks.

Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro by subcultours Portugal

Amadeo de Souza Cardoso

Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso lived around at the same time like Columbano during 1887 and 1918. Amadeo though was known as a Portuguese Impressionism painter. He was influenced by Cubism and Futurism and turned into one of Portugals first well-established modern painters. His paintings are colourful and vivid and only gained public interest after the artist’s death when the Municipal Museum decided to dedicate an entire room to his paintings.

A Glimpse Of The Portuguese Painting History by subcultours_modern

José Malhoa

Like his colleagues mentioned above, José Vital Branco Malhoa, or short José Malhoa, has been alive during the same time frame, namely between 1855 and 1933. José specialised in naturalist painting and became known for painting popular Portuguese daily life scenes and subjects. His two most famous pieces of art are probably ‘The Drunks’ and ‘Fado’. José’s home and art studio was bought by an art fan and collector who turned it into a museum after José’s death. Next to José’s own paintings, you can also see artworks from other influential Portuguese painters from the nineteenth and twentieth century.

A Glimpse Of The Portuguese Painting History by subcultours_fado

Joaquim Rodrigo

Joaquim is the first self-taught Portuguese painter we would like to mention here. Being tired of his profession as a professor of agronomy, he tried to focus more and more on his passion that was painting. Slowly but steadily, he became brave enough to start showing his artwork in exhibitions. Joaquim is known for his abstract, symbolic style.

Rui Carruco

Last but not least, we want to mention oil painter Rui Carruco. From all the Portuguese painters mentioned above, Rui is the only artist that is still alive. He was born in 1976 in Lisbon. After starting his career in the area of science he soon realised that he wanted to do a detour into the world of painting where he has stayed ever since. He took many painting courses to develop his own style. Still passionate about physics, he found a way to combine this world with the world of painting and created artworks showcasing the curved space and the perpetual motion.

A Glimpse Of The Portuguese Painting History by subcultours_oil painting

Now, after reading our article about Portugal’s most famous painters, you might be curious to pick up the brush yourself, right? :)

Well, then go check out our current "Painting Surf Scenes With Watercolor" Workshop with artist and surfer Johny.

Painting Surf Scenes With Watercolor Workshop in Portugal by subcultours

When you are more intro drawing with pencils, then the "Lisbon Life Postcards" Workshop with illustration artist Nicolae might ignite your creative spark! 

Lisbon Life postcards Workshop - in Lisbon, Portugal by subcultours

Last but not least, when your first goal is how to feel your own emotions again and learn how to put them on a piece of paper with first drawings, our artist and illustration designer Gabriela is your go-to-person with her "The people around- Illustration" Workshops.

The people around Illustration Workshop - in Porto, Portugal by subcultours

We hope you liked our blog post and are excited to hearing from you.
Until the next time, take care and stay creative!

xx Kat
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