Pieces of Inspiration – Part I of V

OBS: This post is divided into three parts (for now, I might add a couple more posts) presenting the some of the artworks I am inspired by, and the background information and creative ideas behind them.


This a portrait of the modernist and Portuguese writer/ poet Fernando Pessoa made by the also Portuguese artist Almada Negreiros in 1964 is an artwork that I was

Portrait of Fernando Pessoa, Almada Negreiros (1964)

Portrait of Fernando Pessoa, Almada Negreiros (1964)

This is a painting on canvas that was “commissioned by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. The painting consciously replicates another portrait of the poet painted in 1954 for the restaurant Irmãos Unidos in Lisbon”, a place was where Almada and other modernist artists with whom he created the avant-guard magazine named Orphey used to hang out.

This portrait is of particular interest to me for many reasons. I like Fernando Pessoa’s works and how well he managed to connect each “personality” he created within his writing with “its” own unique style as well as Almada’s paintings and written works. Furthermore, I also relate to Almada as he was born in Sao Tome and Principe (the country my parents are from) and then moved to Portugal when still young and later to France, while I did the other way around (was born in Portugal, moved to Sao Tome while still a toddler and now live in England).

As a modernist artist, and under the influence of the cubist and the futurist arts, Almada used warm and vivid colours as well as layers of shadows that we can associate with Pessoa’s “multiple personalities” and his distinct writing style. Similarly, Almada gaves us a hint of what Pessoa was showing him in front of a desk with a piece of paper and a pen giving the idea of him being a writer. What’s more, he also included the short-lived magazine Orpheu, which only had two editions published.

I believe that Almada managed to deliver a great job with this painting, not only in terms of his painting skills but also in the way he brought us the character and the individual that Pessoa was.


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