João Alpuim Botelho
Museu Bordalo Pinheiro Coordinator
In 2016, we celebrate the 170th anniversary of the birth of Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro (1846-1905) as well as the centenary of the Museu Bordalo Pinheiro, which was the first museum in Portugal to be dedicated to the work of a single artist.
Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro was famous for the caricatures and cartoons he published in the newspapers he ran. For more than 25 years, he contributed weekly drawings which were combined with his extraordinary comic talent to comment on and denounce the rotten core of the political arena, as well as the injustices within Portuguese society.
His artistic talents extended to ceramics and he created pieces for the ceramics factory in Caldas da Rainha that he established in 1884.
The cartoon character Zé Povinho first appeared in the “A Lanterna Mágica” magazine on 12 June 1875, the day before St. Anthony’s Day. It was an inspired creation, which featured in his newspapers and would later be concretised in clay. The character represented the Portuguese people, aware of the political horse-trading but unable to fight against it. His best-known manifestation is a pottery piece in which he is giving the obscene “manguito” hand gesture, along with the phrase “Toma!” [Take that!] to show his indignation at the events he is witnessing.
Having Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro as a theme for the Marchas Populares parades in this most special of years will undoubtedly further enhance the Festas de Lisboa and act as an invitation to go along to Campo Grande and visit his museum.