Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, Lisbon

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, cloister-2º floor, 16th century, Lisbon, Portugal. Photo: @foartista. View more in Lisbon Art Memories

The Thrones of Santo António, Lisbon

The Thrones of Santo António, Lisbon, Portugal. Design: @foartista

In the month of June, the popular saints are coming, and Lisbon begins to prepare to celebrate his beloved Saint Anthony! The party is nice, and it promises, as always. In the downtown, the saleswomen show their flowers (“manjericos”), with their beautiful poems of love. Near the church of Santo António, together with the statue of the saint, two Chinese tourists try to hit some pennies, in the search of their loves…

Street sell of “manjericos”, Largo de Santo António, Lisbon, Portugal

Walking through the streets of old Mouraria, climbing to the Castelo or down the steps and alleys of Alfama, already adorned with colorful ribbons, balloons and little flags, we find here and there, by the doors or windows, the thrones of Santo António. Along with the improvised bars, for the sale of sardines, bifanas and beer or wine, the kids expose their prosaic thrones of Santo Antonio and ask for a coin for tourists and visitors.

Little throne of Santo António, streets of Alfama, Lisbon, during the popular parties in June
Throne of Santo António 2015, Museu de Lisboa – Santo António, Lisbon, Portugal

The sizes, materials and props for creating a throne of Santo António vary according to the taste of its creators or the specific references of each group or neighborhood. In a wooden or cardboard structure, in a staircase or cascade, carpeted with fine tissues and lace, the “manjericos” or other flowers are distributed in devotion to the saint, candles to raise the requests to heaven, small dishes or piggy banks for the little contributions. The rest of the decoration is completed to the liking of each creator, not forgetting the obligatory figure of the saint, at the top of the throne, sometimes, also accompanied by other popular or sacred figures. Generally, the “manjericos” come with little poems or other phrases and requests.

Thrones of Santo António 2016 and 2017, Museu de Lisboa – Santo António, Lisbon, Portugal

This old tradition, deeply identity of the Lisbon neighborhoods, almost fallen into oblivion, nevertheless begins, today, to be better known and recovered. It goes back to the eighteenth century, after the great earthquake of 1755, which destroyed the church of Santo António, leading the children of the choir of the church erected in the streets, thrones to the saint, to ask for coins for the reconstruction of the church of Santo António.

Church of Santo António, largo de Santo António, Lisbon, Portugal. Rebuilt after the Earthquake of 1755
Popular throne of Santo António, streets of Alfama, Lisbon, Portugal

The customs, the faith, the prayers and the responsories remained, as well as the desire for celebration and grace. The kids, on the streets, continued to ask for “cinco reizinhos para o Santo António” and later, “meio tostãozinho para o Santo Antonio”. Every year, in June, during the popular festivities, there are still some of the doors and windows of old Lisbon, the thrones of Santo António, festive and colorful, honoring the saint miracle worker, the patron saint of all causes, with special focus on matchmaking affairs.

Procession of Santo António in 13th of June, streets of Alfama, Lisbon
Popular thrones of Santo António, streets of Alfama, Lisbon, Portugal

There were times when the creation of the thrones of Santo António represented a great and laborious construction of the communities of the neighborhoods, which competed happily among themselves, encouraged by the institutions and newspapers of the time. Nowadays, the autarchy tries to revitalize this tradition, through initiatives of the Museu de Lisboa – Santo António, located in the Largo de Santo António, near the place where the saint was born and played, in the late 12th century. Annually, it promotes to the population of the traditional neighborhoods, a contest of thrones of Santo António, with the objective of transforming the city into a great exhibition hall in the open air, celebrated by all people.

Text and photos: @foartista.

Poster, Thrones of Santo António in Lisbon. Design: @foartista

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Lisbon: the story of a city

Lisbon: telling the story of a city. video: @foartista
Go freely, through the streets, walk by tram, see the tiles, the palaces, the churches, the gardens, the museums. Finally, discover the light and the colors of the city that are reflected in the architecture of the houses that goes down to the river. In the end, will we then have the opportunity to see the soul of Lisbon? We do not know! It will be the discovery or the rediscovery of each one, the challenge remains. 

My Lovely Sardines of Lisbon

Illustration: My Lovely Sardines of Lisbon, mixed media on digital support, @foartista.

“Olha a sardinha, é vivinha da costa. Há carapau e sardinha linda, ó freguesa! É fresquinha a minha sardinha”.

(ancient fishwives of Lisbon)

The sardines are a great icon of Lisbon! Green, yellow, blue, colored or squared, with the most varied decorations, they are ready to the taste and imagination of each customer.

The sardines of Lisbon translate the joy and vitality of the city, sending us to the party, to the popular saints, for the socializing, friendship and flirtation. Who does not imagine them? Hot, on the bread, ready to taste …

Illustration: My Lovely Sardines of Lisbon, mixed media on digital support, @foartista.
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The City of Ulisses: Olisipo

FOArtista, Illustration. The Beautiful city of Olisipo, mixed media on digital support.

Once upon a time, a land of serpents called Ofiúsa, and her queen, who was half woman and half a serpent, seduced the men who came here and never left. At the top of the hills, their wickedness shouted to the winds. No one dared to stand on this land cursed by demons and gods.

FOArtista, Illustration. Ulisses arrived to Olisipo, mixed media on digital support.

One day, Ulisses and his companions arrive and disembark in the cove of the Tagus. Admiring the beauty of the land, they decided to build a city, but the accidents happened and disappeared, mysteriously. Our hero decides to pretend to agree to marry the passionate queen, to save themselves and to found Olisipo, the most beautiful capital in the world!

FOArtista, Illustration. The City of Ulisses: Olisipo, mixed media on digital support.

After that, they manage to escape in time, from the ocean to the outside, escaping the wrath of the deceived queen. It ran desperately, winding through the river, until it fell from exhaustion, giving rise to the seven hills of Lisbon, which in fact, are even more.

Text and illustrations: FOArtista. All rights reserved. Lisbon, 2019.

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Beautiful Tiles

Pattern tiles, largo do Intendente de Pina Manique, Lisbon, Portugal. Photo: @foartista.

The tiles of Lisbon are all over the place! Up and down the hills, through all the streets, squares, alleys and sidewalks. They are of all colors and shades, greens, browns, yellows, oranges, but especially blues, and with the most varied patterns, which are mixed in circles, flowers, squares, lozenges, stars or crosses, and are repeated and multiply geometrically, in an endless artistic composition, of great visual impact, resulting from the colors and scintillation of ceramic materials, transforming and illuminating the magical architecture of the city. View more in Lisbon Art Memories