Portuguese painting is practically unknown in our country, unfortunately, it did not receive such a high-profile fame as, say, the painting of famous Italian or French masters. Although, in the history of painting in Portugal there were amazing pages, turning over which, we can open the whole world, go on a trip around the world as if following those who made great geographical discoveries, conquering more and more new lands, creating a whole world – the Lusitian world, empire, over which the sun always shines …
If Japan is called the country of the “rising sun”, then Portugal in the old days was called the country of the “setting sun” or – Imperu do Sol … The Empire of the Sun in the folk songs of the Portuguese and in poetry is a metaphor for colonial possessions that stretch across the earth and in all oceans. But not only. This concept in the minds of the Portuguese evokes a number of associations that are not always clear to foreigners. Imperu do Sol – an image of grandeur, overshadowed by the noisy era of the Great geographical discoveries, power over the elements of fate, going beyond the horizon, a passion for learning the secrets of the universe, the desire for exciting adventures, romantic feelings, the pulse of life itself, a test of strength and faith, tart the taste of longing, which sounds like a long fado singing, saturated with the smell of fried sardines, port wine and cigars … All this is sung in Camoens’ Lusiads, in one person – by Homer and Shakespeare of Portuguese literature, as well as in folk art, in the proverb and songs. All this lives in the colors of the paintings of the master Fausto Sampaio, one of the outstanding Portuguese artists of the first half of the 20th century.
Millions of Portuguese have not been to their homelands for decades, working in colonies, exploring new lands, sincerely preaching Christianity, or desperately chasing “crazy” money and exciting adventures, and, of course, missing places where their childhood passed. Often, having returned to Portugal after long wanderings, they found themselves bewildered, alien and incomprehensible in their native lands. Then they were already overwhelmed by another longing – about their former life in the colonies … Some, on the contrary, having been born in the colonies, dreamed of visiting the land of their historical roots, Portugal, but, upon arriving there, they often found themselves disappointed, felt longing not even for any particular country , and according to the dream of this “ideal” truly native country, realizing the illusory nature of the ideal created by the imagination. So, the mood of anguish today has become almost the national symbol of Portugal, this famous feeling of saudade, which has saturated the notes of fado songs with the salty smack of tears, drained by the dashing wind from the ocean. What is saudade? This is the sadness of a ship on the open sea in a quiet harbor, and the sadness of a ship in the harbor in the open sea is universal sadness, which has no beginning or end. The fate of Fausto Sampaio was like a long journey, a long journey around the world, however, like the fate of many Portuguese, his predecessors, contemporaries and descendants.
F. Sampaio. Shore in the rain. Macau, 1936
Fausto Sampaio (1893 – 1956) in Portugal is often called the “artist of the world”, “the artist of the world”, “the painter of distant lands”, “Vashka da Gama from art”, “the painter of the Empire of the Sun” … His brush captures the priceless views of the Portuguese colonies, the images of his paintings seem to have stopped the story, the colors reflect the wind of long wanderings. F. Sampaio is one of the few artists in world history who knew how to combine the strength and clarity of documentary narrative, the apparent ease of self-expression, the true grace of the style of the pictorial language, the decorative colors and the amazing observation in reflecting reality.
F. Sampaio was born in Alfeolas (Anadia, the central part of Portugal), and his “birth” as a professional artist, he owes much to Paris, where he lived from 1926 to 1934. There he met many prominent artists, studied various directions and styles in painting, I saw the famous creations of old masters in museums and academies. Since 1934, he began his long journeys through the expanses of the Empire of the Sun – first he arrives on the island of Sao Tome, which is close to the shores of the African continent, then to Macau, then travels to the islands of Indonesia, reaches Timor, travels to India, and then travels again in Africa, having received the license of the colonial police to freely move around all the colonies in order to create unique picturesque testimonies, “designed to strengthen the patriotic feelings of the Portuguese and reflect the originality, the Nazis tional flavor, prosperity and greatness of the Portuguese possessions outside the metropolis. ” In the dry “clerical” statement of the artist’s goals, his true purpose is not mentioned – to understand, survive, feel, reflect in the pains of melancholy-saudade, to feel the unity of the world in its infinite beauty, to capture the unique beauty of the fleeting impressions of a wanderer …