Ernesto de Sousa and the Portuguese Primitives

Manuel Batoréo, Edição Caleidoscópio, Lisbon.
Launch at Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, November 27th, 2011.


Excerpt from the preface to Os "Primitivos Portugueses" e a Gravura do Norte da Europa:

It's been about five decades since my friend Ernesto de Sousa, in one of those conversations we used to have in the basement of the now gone Café Martinho, right next to Rossio, called my attention to something which, at such a young age, would never have occurred to me. Zé Ernesto was showing me a print that he thought, in enthusiastic tone in which he always spoke of visual arts and cinema, was the same image as a painting in Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga. A few days later, on a visit to Janelas Verdes, we had a meeting with the Dr. João Couto, director at the time, who showed great interest in the matter commenting that there must have been more of such cases. (...) It was a work that came in the wake of an essay – not yet fully published to date – about the influence of [Dürer's] engraving on the painting of the Viseu master [Vasco Fernandes], a first step in the study that we now present with the extension and depth that the passage of time, and a few essays done along the way, allowed for. I must still recall that at the time of the conversation mentioned above, Dagoberto Markl lamented the incomprehension of a well-known colleague towards this aspect of art history studies, from whom he heard the remark: "what does it matter?".
Thus came to memory the conversation with Ernesto de Sousa and the idea of trying to establish a corpus of Portuguese Renaissance paintings that revealed the use of engraved sources.