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Exploring Lisbon

August 4, 2011

This is King Joao the First (1383-1433)- riding up to the Castello de Sao Jorge. You’ll find him in Praça Da Figueria, just east of Rossio.

I can’t emphasize enough how great it was to paint every day for the entire week. It just seemed like the paint went down easier and easier every day. I could feel things resolving in a single wash, that I’d normally have to glaze and blot and worry over. I feel like I learned as much this week as I have this year.

But by the end I felt like I was seeing the underlying structure and not getting sidetracked in the surface detail too quickly. Oh and how I love the tiny tiny detail. That’s my video gaming design mentality I think. When in doubt, more gnarly bits! Less is not more – More is More!  Fortunately Portuguese architecture is not lacking for fascinating detail.

Igreja do Carmo. A picturesque museum, many beautiful artifacts housed under graceful arched pillars open to the sky. The roof rained stones down on the terrified congregation during the 1755 quake. No doubt right as they were praying for transport out of the doomed city. You have to appreciate the irony as you draw the elegant forms the disaster left us.

I don’t know anything about this place – I think it might be the Palácio Ribeiro da Cunha, on the north side of the Praça do Príncipe Real. (Google confirms, yes). It’s certainly a bizarre bit of construction. A byzantine wedding cake of a building topped by three scoops of ice cream. Couldn’t pass this one up. It was also right near the gallery showing paintings of Mauritania by USK correspondent Isabel Fiaderio.

This is a side jaunt to the ruined castle high above the town of Sintra. 40 min by train from Rossio station, then a tortuous (and pricey!) mini-bus up some winding roads. I toughed out Lisbon’s hills, but this one looked a little more serious. I could see how the castle defenders could make short work of anyone marching uphill. A magnificent view up here, and in late July,  one of the hottest places I’ve ever painted.

Sintra as whole is a bit over-rated for my tastes. (Jacek tried to warn me!) Kind of a sugary storybook pretty feeling to the place. The monuments are certainly spectacular – but seem somehow to be trying too hard to impress. It’s a spring break town for Baroque princes. Though, I didn’t make it to Quinta da Regaleria, despite being told it was the most grotesque of the local highlights. I’d give that a try if I get here again. You can pretty much skip Palacio da Pena. IMO, not worth the price of admission. You can see the effect it had on young Walter Disney. (The story is, his father worked there and it became the inspiration for Disney Land).

In any case – the old Moors castle was my favorite spot. Much superior to the tourist trap housed in the Castelo in Lisbon. If you want to see crusades era castles, go here – not the one in town! Standing on this wall, you can really feel the history.

OK – I saved the best for last – next post – Mosteiro Jeronimos, Santa Engracia and the Se. One of which is turned out to my favorite painting I’ve done to date.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. August 5, 2011 11:29 AM

    wow, your work is beautiful!!!!!! I’d love to feature you on my blog one day!!!

  2. August 7, 2011 4:37 AM

    Wonderful work!
    Love the atmosphere of Igreja do Carmo!
    I just disagree with Sintra being overrated :-)
    I do agree that its attractions are a little expensive, especially when compared to others in the rest of the country, though…

    • tarosan permalink*
      August 7, 2011 1:27 PM

      Well it certainly is pretty, and everyone who has time should go – I think I was just in a bad mood, so much to see and do in town, then suddenly it’s buying tickets to look at empty courtyards full of other people buying tickets :) I guess lets just say, if I had to choose a day at Sintra or a day in Lisbon, I’d just like to wander the city. Lisbon is full of culture – Sintra is kind of a city in a bottle. But it is pretty! Some great views.

  3. August 7, 2011 10:59 AM

    Yes, Fantastic work Marco. Love your sketches/paintings and I really like the photo collage you are doing that have pictures of you and your subject. It adds another interesting layer to your “reporting”

  4. September 3, 2013 9:52 AM

    Beautiful drwaings


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