Júlio Pomar, one of the biggest portuguese artists, that stood out specially as a painter, died last week. Even if I knew his name, I never had a real contact with his art.
Now that he died, the honors and tributes made me discover more about this interesting character. One of the most interesting things I read about him is when he recalls how and why he decided to become a painter: having grown and spent his youth in Lisbon, one day he left the portuguese capital.
When Pomar realized he missed Lisbon and specially the Tagus river he decided to paint it. This is, for me, truly interesting and I totally understand him.
Every ‘lisboeta’ (a Lisbon local) needs to see and feel the Tagus and Lisbon wouldn´t be Lisbon without this river. I´m sure everyone visits my hometown notices it.
Everyday I see people close to the Tagus. I like to look our river, it not only relaxes me but also makes me feel the freedom of being alive. I´m sure this interconnection ‘locals-city-river’ happens in every city that has a river.
In Lisbon it inspires painters… and poets like Fernando Pessoa that wrote this ‘Ode to the Tagus’:
The Tagus is more beautiful than the river that flows through my village,
But the Tagus is not more beautiful than the river that flows through my village
Because the Tagus is not the river that flows through my village.
The Tagus has enormous ships,
And for those who see in everything that which isn’t there
Its waters are still sailed
By the memory of the carracks.
The Tagus descends from Spain
And crosses Portugal to pour into the sea.
Everyone knows this.
But few know what the river of my village is called
And where it goes to
And where it comes from.
And so, because it belongs to fewer people,
The river of my village is freer and larger.
The Tagus leads to the world.
Beyond the Tagus there is America
And the fortune of those who find it.
No one ever thought about what’s beyond
The river of my village.
The river of my village doesn’t make one think of anything.
Whoever is next to it is simply next to it.