Sculptures Garden

entry: General Conditions

Painting rarefied the spirit

2022-07-28
2022-10-30
Curatorship: Hilda Frias

After an artistic residency at the National Museum of Contemporary Art, what you see here is the fruit of persistent work and research by Nelson Ferreira. The artist decided to pay homage to the academic artists and their deep knowledge of the art of drawing and painting.
Nelson painted watercolour studies using a challenging technique of alla prima - painted directly looking at the statues, without pencil, just with paints and a brush.


Being watercolours on absorbent paper, the artist has to paint everything without hesitation, without being able to correct any mistakes.
For the larger format canvases painted with acrylic paint, photography was used to create a dialogue between the sculptures and human beings.

The depurated space of the Sculpture Garden takes us back to Islamic or Moorish gardens or even to an ancient Lisbon but, more implicitly, to a medieval Hortus Conclusus, the earthly paradise of the Song of Songs.
The symbolism refers to Mary, virginal, without sin, in a walled garden, the representation of her body, forever without stain.


The artistic residence, without parallel in the history of the Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea, led him to create pictorial works based on the sculptures that populate a unique space where, in the twilight, the shadows create ghostly and diffuse images.
Blue was the chosen hue for these lightfast and water resistant paintings, which may last for millennia and be contemplated by different gazes.

Making his own paints, using modern and also ancient pigments such as lapis lazuli, extracted from the mines of Badakhshan (visited by Marco Polo), in the mountains of Afghanistan, an endless number of hues are achieved in which the hundreds of shades of blue lead to the illusion of multicoloured paintings.
It is therefore a contained, restricted palette, linked to the alchemical symbolism of the use of lapis lazuli. The artist imposes on himself the use of Blue.

A high-quality lapis lazuli stone contains blue veins (lazurite), white veins (calcite) and yellow points (pyrite), which immediately carries us to the symbolism of the sky, clouds and stars.
The "celestial" substance, which was used to paint the Virgin Mary's mantle and which was believed to be a piece of heaven that had reached the earth, was of such high commercial and symbolic value that in Portugal, only Lourenço de Salzedo used it in one painting on the altarpiece of the Jerónimos Monastery.

600 years ago, Cennino Cennini wrote in his treatise on painting that lapis lazuli was the most important of the pigments "noble and beautiful colour, the most perfect of all colours, of which nothing can be said or done that its quality does not surpass" 1

In this cycle of contemporary works Nelson's reverence for the great classical masters and academic tradition is attested.

Hilda Frias
July 2022

1 Cennini, Cennino,1 Libro dell’Arte, edição de F. Frezzato, Vicenza, NeriPozza Editore, 2003

 



On Exhibition

Music in the MNAC's Garden

2022-08-05
2022-08-26
Summer Nights - Music Concerts
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short film ‘Azul no Azul’ (Blue in Blue)

2022-07-28
2022-09-15
Curatorship: Nelson Ferreira
short experimental film ‘Azul no Azul’ (Blue in Blue) is a cinematic journey inside the sculpture garden of MNAC - The National Museum of Contemporary Art
Video

Exhibition

COTA 1.20 at MNAC's PeP Gallery

2022-07-21
2022-09-04
Curatorship: Sílvia Berény e Rita Brandão
WALKING BY A GROUP OF CHILDREN FROM THE OSMOPE SCHOOL ON RUA MOUZINHO DA SILVEIRA IN PORTO
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Veloso Salgado

from Lisbon to Wissant. Itinerary of a Portuguese painter

2022-07-02
2022-12-15
Curatorship: Maria de Aires Silveira
Exhibition Veloso Salgado from Lisbon to Wissant. Itinerary of a Portuguese painter - integrated in the Portugal-France Season (Crusade)
Temporary Exhibition

111 years

2022-05-26
2024-04-01
An intervention that celebrates 110 years of the MNAC.
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‘There’s a shite stunk in the air… Dad’s oot oan bail! by Edgar Martins

2022-05-25
2022-08-21
There’s a shite stunk in the air… Dad’s oot oan bail!
Solo show

THE OTHER LIFE OF ANIMALS

2022-05-05
2022-08-28
Curatorship: Emília Ferreira
This exhibition of real and fantastic animals features works of drawing, painting, photography, ceramics, sculpture and media art, having been designed for a younger audience, but where all ages are welcome.
Temporary Exhibition

'I don't know if I can wish you a happy year'.

2022-04-14
2022-08-28
Curatorship: Adelaide Duarte
'I don't know if I can wish you a happy year'. Works from the Mário Teixeira da Silva collection curated by Adelaide Duarte
Temporary Exhibition

Populated landscapes

Narratives from the MNAC collection (1850-1930)

2022-02-16
2022-08-28
Curatorship: Maria Aires Silveira
The aesthetics of the landscape, in dialogue with the presence and human intervention in nature.
Temporary Exhibition

Maria Eugénia & Francisco Garcia

A Colection

2021-11-18
2022-09-18
Curatorship: Maria de Aires Silveira, Cristina Azevedo Tavares e Raquel Henriques da Silva
MNAC exhibits the collection of Maria Eugénia and Francisco Garcia
Temporary Exhibition