An investigation into the astrological symbols present in two decorative paintings of José de Almada Negreiros (1893 – 1970).

Toscano Lopes Dias Manarte, Maria Margarida (2023) An investigation into the astrological symbols present in two decorative paintings of José de Almada Negreiros (1893 – 1970). Masters thesis, University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

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Abstract

This dissertation presents an investigation of the astrological symbols used in two mural paintings by the twentieth century Portuguese artist José Sobral de Almada Negreiros (1893–1970), known as Almada. Dating from 1939, the paintings are situated in the public hall of the Diário de Notícias newspaper building in Lisbon. One painting, Planisfério, represents a world map surrounded by the four elements and the twelve zodiac signs, while the second, the Hours’ Cycle, represents the stages of producing a newspaper in twenty-four hours of a day. Almada is a widely studied artist but these two paintings are less explored and deserve a fuller investigation, particularly considering the astrological symbols used. Almada’s interest in astrology is shown in his paintings as well as in some of his writings. His understanding of astrology likely came from his friend Fernando Pessoa, a writer and astrologer who was knowledgeable about the astrological teachings of the time. At the same time, Almada was also influenced by Greek philosophy, mythology and culture, particularly Plato’s ideas and definition of the four elements. The analyses of these paintings showed that Almada followed some medieval traditions: the mappa mundi and celestial maps in Planisfério and the labours of the months in the Hours’ Cycle, revealing his interest in ancient knowledge although reworked within the context of contemporary modernist culture, thought and art. It can be assumed that Almada considered there to be a relationship between earth and sky, as demonstrated in his paintings, although he saw each realm differently – the earth as objective and the sky, subjective. Likewise, time and space are depicted in these paintings in both ancient and modern ways, and can be related to Almada’s interest in astrology and geometry, although he ended up pursuing the latter more deeply. Therefore, this investigation has tried to enrich the knowledge of these paintings, focusing on the astrological symbolism, to develop an understanding of Almada’s relationship with astrology and the presence of astrology in Portuguese society in the 1930s and 1940s. 11

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D901 Europe (General)
N Fine Arts > ND Painting
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Masters Dissertations
Depositing User: Victoria Hankinson
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2023 12:27
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2023 13:55
URI: https://repository.uwtsd.ac.uk/id/eprint/2669

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