Portraits of Fernando Pessoa

Retratos de Fernando Pessoa

Who was Fernando Pessoa?

Fernando Pessoa was one of the most important poets of the Portuguese language and one of the central figures of Modernism. His poems involved in themes linked to nationalist traditions and reflections on the “deep self”, loneliness, boredom and restlessness, were decisive for the evolution of all literary production in the 20th century. Born in Lisbon in 1888, however, at the age of seven, he left for South Africa, where he obtained his studies. In 1905, he definitely returned to Portugal and enrolled in the Superior Course of Letters the following year. In 1912, he made his debut in the magazine “A Águia” with essay articles and after two years, in 1914, he created the personalities of the three well-known heteronyms: Ricardo Reis, Alberto Caeiro and Álvaro de Campos.

Fernando Pessoa deeply marked the Portuguese modernist movement, for his avant-garde literary and theoretical production, in addition to his involvement in the printing of the magazine "Orpheu", with Mário de Sá-Carneiro, José de Almada-Negreiros and others. However, when he died in 1935, only one book had been published in Portuguese, "Mensagem". Due to its cultural importance, many artists have come to represent this essential figure. In this article we will understand how they express in different ways the famous poet's virtues.

Julius Orchard

Júlio Pomar was a Portuguese artist, belonging to the third generation of modernist, with a production that ranges from neorealism to expressionism, passing through abstractionism. Relying on geometry, in this work the artist portrayed the poet with different shapes, straight lines, triangles, circles, among others. The background divided into two colors, red and black, highlights the iconic shapes and features for which the poet is known: the hat, glasses, mustache and tie. Throughout his career, Júlio Pomar has drawn the writer on various supports on various media, the best known work being the order for the tiles at the Lisbon Metro.

Julio Pomar | P55 - Magazine | P55 - The Platform of Art

Fernando Pessoa by Júlio Pomar

Michael Barrett

In a peculiar and dynamic way, Michael Barrett created portraits of Fernando Pessoa with Impressionist and Expressionist influences. In this work, the poet is represented with the elements that characterize him, being at the same time, involved in a warm landscape with different pigments that give life to the painting. In order to create more solid forms, the painter traced the attributes of the face and the landscape on the acrylic stains. Thus, color and line are the protagonists of this graceful painting that expresses Michael Barrett's admiration for the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa.

Michael Barrett | P55 - Magazine | P55 - The Platform of Art Fernando Pessoa by Michael Barrett, 1998

Eurico Gonçalves

Manifesting himself with graphic signs and abstract calligraphy, Eurico Gonçalves valued stains and free and impulsive lines. In this work Fernando Pessoa and the heteronyms , the artist created a map with lines, lines and circles that outlines various paths between the poet and his heteronyms. Throughout his life, Fernando Pessoa took on other literary personalities who signed different works, such as Alberto Caeiro, Ricardo Reis and Álvaro de Campos, each having a biography and their own style. Known for having created several heteronyms, Eurico Gonçalves starts from this characteristic to write a quote at the bottom of this piece: "Put as much as you are in the minimum you do" - Ricardo Reis - Dádá Ze. The excerpt came from the poem's verses, To be great, be whole , which teaches us to face and accept what we truly are in its fullness, without being afraid or ashamed of our characteristics and weaknesses. This speech of praise and pride of our being emerged as an opposition to the fragmentation of modern man, in vogue at the time it was written by the poet.

Eurico Gonçalves | P55 - Magazine | P55 - The Platform of Art

Fernando Pessoa and the heteronyms of Eurico Gonçalves, 2017

Alfredo Luz

Alfredo Luz's works present a set of fragments that are brought together by his senses and thoughts. In the portrait conceived of Fernando Pessoa, the artist outlined the physical peculiarities known by the public - glasses and a hat - in order to establish an almost spontaneous recognition of the latter. Giving wings to imagination and fantasy, the artist transported the poet to his creative universe. In a sensitive way, it opens a door to the interior of Fernando Pessoa's mind and involves him in feathers - a tool linked to his professional practice, writing. Surrounded by charm, Alfredo Luz offered with this extraordinary work a personal and daring vision of one of the greatest poets in the history of Portugal.

Alfredo Light | P55 - Magazine | P55 - The Platform of Art Fernando Pessoa by Alfredo Luz

Artem Usá

In a combination of figuration and abstraction, Artem Usá created paintings that show his energy and emotions, based on the spontaneity of brushstrokes and color. As art is an opportunity to see the world in a particular and unique way, the artist created a work in tribute to the writer Fernando Pessoa. In this painting that oscillates between drawing and staining, Artem Usá expressed the poet's distinct personalities, through the variation of pigments, in a game between the composition of colors and their layers. The title of the work is composed of one of the writer's extremely popular phrases: “Man is the size of his world”. From this reference, it is understood that the artist exhibits in this portrait, in a spontaneous and peculiar way, the interior of his world, his thoughts and impressions.

Artem Usá | P55 - Magazine | P55 - The Platform of Art The man is the size of his world as Artem Usá

Henrique do Vale

Influenced by gestures, Henrique do Vale created works with deep freedom and spontaneity, tending to select themes with a connection to history or his experiences. In Fernando Pessoa's portrait, the artist presents us, with a delicate and emotional stroke, a composition conceived through the flow of ideas and the overlapping of colors when working with acrylic. A representation that displays the uniqueness of Henrique do Vale's works due to the involvement of the poet's figure in such unconscious and pure pigments and features.

Henrique do Vale | P55 - Magazine | P55 - The Platform of Art Fernando Pessoa by Henrique do Vale


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