Fernando Pessoa was one of the most important poets in 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, he left for South Africa at the age of seven, where he studied. In 1905, he definitely returned to Portugal and enrolled, the following year, in the Superior Course of Letters. In 1912, he made his debut in the magazine “A Águia” with articles of an essayistic nature 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 had a profound impact on the Portuguese modernist movement, due to his avant-garde literary and theoretical production, as well as his involvement in printing 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 virtues of the famous poet.
Júlio Pomar was a Portuguese artist, belonging to the third generation of modernists, with a production ranging 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 your career, Júlio Pomar he drew the writer multiple times on various supports, the best-known work being the order for tiles in the Metropolitano de Lisboa.
Fernando Pessoa in Júlio Pomar
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, while being involved in a warm landscape with different pigments that give liveliness to the painting. In order to create more settled forms, the painter traced the attributes of the face and landscape on the acrylic stains. Thus, color and line are the protagonists of this graceful painting that expresses the admiration of Michael Barrett by the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa.
Fernando Pessoa inMichael Barrett, 1998
Manifesting itself with graphic signs and abstract calligraphy, Eurico Gonçalves he valued the spots and free and impulsive lines. In this work Fernando Pessoa and heteronyms, the artist created a map with lines, dashes and circles that outlines several paths between the poet and his heteronyms. Throughout his life, Fernando Pessoa took on other literary personalities who signed disparate works such as Alberto Caeiro, Ricardo Reis and Álvaro de Campos, each of them having a biography and their own style. Known for having created several heteronyms, Eurico Gonçalves part of this feature to write a quote at the bottom of this piece: "Put how much you are in the least you do" - Ricardo Reis - Dádá Ze. The excerpt arose from the verses of the poem, 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 in our being, emerged as opposition to the fragmentation of modern man, in vogue at the time it was written by the poet.
Fernando Pessoa and heteronymsin Eurico Gonçalves, 2017
the works of Alfredo Luz present a set of fragments that are brought together by their senses and thoughts. In the portrait conceived of Fernando Pessoa, the artist outlined the physical peculiarities known by the public - glasses and hat - in order to establish a practically spontaneous recognition of him. Giving wings to imagination and fantasy, the artist transported the poet into his creative universe. In a sensitive way, it opens a door to the interior of Fernando Pessoa's mind and wraps him in feathers - a tool linked to his professional practice, writing. Surrounded by charm, Alfredo Luz offered, with this extraordinary work, a personal and bold vision of one of the greatest poets in the history of Portugal.
Fernando Pessoa in Alfredo LuzArtem Usá
In a combination between figuration and the abstract, Artem Usá he established paintings that exhibit 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 tribute work to the writer Fernando Pessoa. In this painting that oscillates between drawing and staining, Artem Usá expressed the different personalities of the poet, 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 extremely popular phrases of the writer: “Man is the size of his world”. From this reference, it is understood that the artist displays in this portrait, in a spontaneous and peculiar way, the interior of his world, his thoughts and impressions.
The man is the size of his world inArtem Usá
Henrique do Vale
Influenced by gesturalism, Henrique do Vale he created works with a profound freedom and spontaneity, tending to select themes with a connection to history or his experiences. In the portrait of Fernando Pessoa, 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 the works of Henrique do Vale by the involvement of the poet's figure in such unconscious and pure pigments and traits.
Fernando Pessoa in Henrique do Vale