Pedro & Inês

Mosteiro de Alcobaça, Alcobaça, monastery, coffee, pastry, bell, church, tomb, sarcofagus

Inside the monumental monastery in Alcobaça rest the sarcophagi of Pedro and Inês, the protagonists of a tragic medieval love story – with a Game of Thrones level of gore and treachery!

Pedro, the Crown Prince of Portugal in the 14th century was soon to be married to Constança of Castille. When they first met, Pedro caught a glimpse of one of Constança’s maids: Inês de Castro, a Galician noblewoman with ties to the Castillan court, and soon after, they fell in love for each other.

Pedro was committed to his marriage with Constança of which he had three children. However, Pedro’s and Inês’ love for each other never waned and they kept meeting in secret. Rumors about the affair spread throughout the court and, after Constança died giving birth, the outraged king Afonso exiled Inês – already mother of four of Pedro’s children – to a convent in Coimbra. Pedro was not allowed in, but kept roaming around the walls of the convent, smuggling in love letters.

Seeing the futility of keeping the lovers separated, and fearful of bastard claims to the throne, the king ordered three noblemen to assassinate Inês by decapitating her. An enraged and vengeful Pedro spent years hunting his lover’s assassins down, finally capturing two of them. He executed them in a public display, ripping their hearts out from their bodies.

Legend has it that after being crowned king, Pedro exhumed the corpse of Inês, claiming to have married her in life and forcing the whole court to acknowledge his queen and kiss her hand.

They now rest together in stone for eternity, in the halls of the church of the monastery of Alcobaça.

Mosteiro de Alcobaça, monastery, Alcobaça, kitchen, monument, tiles

It’s a pretty impressive tale of love, hate and betrayal! Impressive as well is the monumental tiled chimney of the kitchen of the monastery! A sight to be seen and an architectural work of art.Mosteiro de Alcobaça, Alcobaça, monastery

Poland sketches #4 Buildings of Warszawa

palace, building, culture, science, Warszawa, Warsaw, Poland, Stalin, monument

Excerpt of my text in Diários de Viagem 2 (Travelling journals 2) freely translated from the original Portuguese:

“Buildings are perhaps the subject that interests me the least, which kinda collides with my base education as an architect. A silent rule that I keep to myself is: sketch that which bores you until it doesn’t bother you anymore! The infamous Palace of Culture and Science was a worthy opponent. It’s 237 meters of concrete nemesis that I enjoyed sketching as much as the Warsawians enjoy it being there. I tried to make the result a little more interesting by rendering two distinct layers – shape and rhythm in line-work and its true scale in color-wash. Sometimes, experiments don’t go as we want them to and the sketchbook is a harsh master on that – it makes us carry our mistakes with us. Specially a hardbound sketchbook.

pavilions, Warszawa, Warsaw, Poland, nightlife, bars

When it’s about representing buildings, I prefer the people approach: interpreting what people make of buildings, as was the case of the Pawilony – concrete prefabs of repeated design that were the origin of a hip spot of the nightlife of Warsaw.  I usually go for details, but between sketching the extravagant interior of any given bar and the regular rhythm of the whole block, I went for the monotonous general picture. Yet another challenge overcome!”

Warszawa, Warsaw, Poland, university, library

Poland sketches #3 Warsawians

Orkiestra z chmielnej, Poland, Warsawa, Warsaw, music, guitar, accordion,

Warsawa is a grey city, but its denizens not so much. The polka tunes played by Orkiestra z Chmielnej invaded the tunnels under one of the enormous soviet avenues, taking advantage of the crowds of people passing by in all directions.

Poland, Warsawa, Warsaw, wódka, patrons

While I expected mostly slavic facial features, the truth is they are as diverse as they come, almost as a testament of the permanently shifting borders of the country. Desired and, at times, abused and invaded by both close and far neighbors along the millenia, Poland, and Warsaw for that matter seems to be in some sort of crossroads of Central Europe. Slavic, nordic and germanic features are prevalent, but one can identify features from almost every corner of Europe here.

Poland, Warsawa, Warsaw, wódka, patrons

In Warszawska, a bar in Śródmieście, the central district of the capital, youngsters flowed in. Some patrons, after noticing being sketched became friendly and engaged in conversation. One of the most communicative was a local video producer and stop-motion artist. The seemingly underage barmaid displayed a quiet jelousness about not being portrayed in a sketch, but soon enough she got what she wanted, although I am unsure whether she enjoyed the result.

Desenho Cru – Raw sketching

tavern, mustard, mayonnaise, chili sauce, beer, art, studio, mirror

In 2012, Desenho Cru was created as a one-night monthly gathering of artists and performers, in the unusual stage of a gay bar in the heart of Lisboa. It was actually named after the bar. The drill is simple: the performers perform, and the artists sketch them. Creative spirits in both sides of the (imaginary) fence are free to deliver their own art in whatever form they feel is best.

Veronique, performer, performance, Desenho Cru, model, mirror

Now, the Desenho Cru sessions are held in a small studio in Martim Moniz, another heart of Lisboa – the multi-hearted city. I attended my first Desenho cru in the beginning of february, weeks after coming back to Lisboa. It’s a fantastic group experience, where concentration levels are high, but everything feels somewhat different from a regular sketch meeting.

Veronique, performer, performance, Desenho Cru, model, mirror

The intimacy of the moment is enhanced firstly by the narrowness of the space, where fifteen to twenty people elbowed each other for some arm movement space. If more were to come, they would have to sit on the floor.

Veronique, performer, performance, Desenho Cru, model, mirror, José Gomez, guitar, music

Secondly by the unusual nature of the performances – and those are entirely dependent on the performers themselves – it’s an artistic lottery. You get what they bring for you. First-time performer Veronique, tense at first, on account of the thirty-something eyeballs on her, finally let herself and some garments go, and played around with postures and the mirror she had leaned up against the wall. I’d say she managed quite well.

Desenho Cru, mirror, José Gomez, guitar, music

The andalucian José Gomez brought his guitar and some electronic equipment that, for some reason, started to fail him right in the middle of his act. The gadget recorded a sample that he would play, and then it would playback on a loop, while he added some more samples to the texture of the song. A one man band, fretted unfortunately by faulty equipment.

Poland sketches #2 Food in Warszawa

Pork, food, Pod Samson, Poland, Warsawa, beer
Pork! It’s pork!

Excerpt of my text in Diários de Viagem 2 (Travelling journals 2) freely translated from the original Portuguese:

“Sketching allows for different scales, compositions, assembling of notes and thoughts. And above all, maybe the feature that pleases me the most, it’s a pretext to sit and take a breath, watching, interpreting for a while, everything that goes around. Might be a problem while travelling in groups: “Isn’t it ready yet?” one might hear eventually, resulting in us being forced to keep on moving with an open sketchbook in our hands, waterwashes still wet (it’s a time-consuming chemical process, the evaporation of the water, especially in near-zero temperatures).”

Pork, food, Pod Samson, Poland, Warsawa, beer
More pork.
hot chocolate, chocolate, Wedel, breakfast, croissant, bread, honey, jam, butter
E. Wedel, a century-old chocolate maker of Warsawa serves richly-flavoured breakfasts in a proper victorian atmosphere.