Price – 100 euros
Watercolours and drawings by John O’Connor complemented by texts from Portuguese authors selected by Maria do Carmo Paço d’Arcos. Bilingual edition (Portuguese/English).
Art book 24 x 30 cms, 128 pages, hard cover with illustrated dust-jacket, printed on Stockwell Special paper 160 grs. Limited edition of 500 copies, numbered and signed by the artist. Publisher: Caixa Geral de Depósitos. Year of edition: 2009.
The soul of cities
Every city has a unique soul that dwells mainly in iconic places which linger in the heart, memory and time, acquiring the timelessness that moves us, ephemeral as we are. It is naturally in such places that the English painter John O’Connor has searched for the soul of three Portuguese cities, Lisbon, Porto and Coimbra, discovering it in squares, streets and alleyways, belvederes and parks, churches and monuments, cafés and kiosks and in the river that runs through the horizon in all of them. From these encounters appeared the watercolours and drawings reproduced in this book, almost a painted journal of the emotions which these three cities inspired in his vision.
Fátima Vieira – Art critic
A westerner’s feeling
Throughout our streets, as the evening
Brings with it such gloom, such melancholy,
Shadows, bustle, the Tagus, the smell of the sea
Awaken in me a foolish suffering.
Oh my severe craddle of granite!
(Is this memory a faint glimpse of the end?)
I’ve seen the fiords – they don’t match your river!
It’s on your great strength that I depend.
Your word is a loyal blade.
Alone, its independence you embrace,
To friend or foe – one single faith!
Enveloped in mist – an absent face.
António de Sousa
The mists break
Along the river Mondego
The mists break
Which until now wrapped its fabled banks:
The waters awake
And fixed in wonder
Reflect the blue of the radiant morn…
I feel so close to everything that’s sad
That with this joy
My eyes with pain are torn.
Coimbra, serene, shows its profile
Graceful and gentle – as if bewildered
In this light which is so vibrant, diffuse, gilded…
About the Authors
John O’Connor was born in London. He studied at the Chelsea School of Art where he was awarded two drawing prizes and graduated with a first class honours degree in Fine Art. This was followed by two years of postgraduate study at the Slade School. His work is represented in various private and public collections in Portugal and England including the Selecções do Reader’s Digest, Grupo Pestana, Hotel da Lapa, Museu da Cidade de Lisboa, Câmara Municipal de Sintra, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the private collection of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales.
Maria do Carmo Paço d’Arcos was born in Lisbon into a family of celebrated literary tradition. She has worked in film production for many years. Recently, she has been translating English poets and organising art exhibitions.
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