Sea! The Artistic Works of King D. Carlos

June 29 - October 27, 2007




[…]  it is now necessary to single him out as one of those few who, in this country by the coast, truly feels marine life, and among the rare few who, throughout the exhibition, make the effort of painting in Portuguese.
Fialho de Almeida, Os Gatos, 1889-1894



As the areas of nautical interest of King D. Carlos are many, we have chosen to group these works thematically, instead of chronologically, resulting in seven groups representative of the King-Painter’s artistic creations:

I. Love for the Sea
“Open sea” maritime landscapes where light, in its many shades, incides over a calm or violent sea, along the coast of Cascais or in distant seas, illustrate the expressive and technical abilities of the artist, as well as his profound sensitivity towards the theme, in his paintings as much as his watercolours, oil and pastel. We find here some of D. Carlos’s best maritime landscapes...

II. The Early Years
Fotografias, desenhos e pequenas aguarelas, datadas da infância e da juventude do então príncipe D. Carlos, deixam-nos perceber a precocidade da sua paixão pelo mar e de como sempre se interessou por transpor para o papel ou para tela aquilo que observava, em especial os barcos.

III. The Sea of Cascais
It is impossible to dissociate his maritime landscapes from D. Carlos’s connection to Cascais. The place of choice for the Court’s summer vacation, the King chose it as the setting of his better known and most emblematic artworks. He strongly expressed his emotional and physical relationship with the Sea of Cascais through his art and through his activity as “scientist of the oceans”. In this section we find two drawing and watercolour albums belonging to the Chiado Museum - National Museum of Contemporary Art, in which his images of Cascais and Estoril in the late 19th century and early 20th century always feature the sea as a background.

Passion is the word that best describes D. Carlos’s approach to all types of boats, ships and vessels. Obsession is probably how the manner and regularity with which the king drew and painted this theme is best qualified… Organised as a painting gallery from the 1800s, this section features a selected and large group among the vast collection of artworks by the king exclusively featuring this theme - including sailboats, of different typologies, steamboats and warships, national and foreign. In addition to the many paintings on display, we also present three small albums of watercolours and drawings as well as a fan and a palette painted by the King.

V. Fishing
This is an equally present theme in his artistic work, and includes paintings and drawings that portray different fishing vessels, moments of a fishing expedition, and figures of fishermen and fishwives. A painted ceramic flowerbed decorated with a theme allusive to fishing stands out particularly for its beauty and rarity, as does a shell painted with the figure of a fishwife in traditional dress.

VI. The Study of the Underwater World
It is not the aim of this exhibition to discuss D. Carlos’s role as a pioneer of Portuguese Oceanography. Instead, this section demonstrates how the king’s other passion also found its expression in his artistic production, whether in a pictorial representation of his four oceanographic yachts (Amélia I, II, III and IV), or in the drawings and paintings recording the marine species captured for the study of the flora and fauna of the Portuguese seas, namely in his daily work logs, as the one now in possession of Aquário Vasco da Gama.

VII. Other Perspectives and Experiences of the Sea
This section explores D. Carlos’s of maritime themes through other, less iconic, perspectives. With the sea always present, the human figure appears here as more present and participating, either the protagonist of the scene depicted or a mere motif for the representation of maritime themes. Charming moments spent by the sea, true “portraits d’époque” aboard yachts, or rural scenes with the sea as a setting are some of the genres exhibited in this section.



Pôr-do-Sol. 1900.
Pastel and paper.
86,5 x 150 cm.
Private collection.
Photo: Pedro Aboim Borges





Figuras na Praia com Toldos. 1895.
Oil on wood. 7 x 12 cm.
Private collection.
Photo: Pedro Aboim Borges





Noite e Dia. 1901.
Watercolour on paper. 28,3 x 21,7 cm.
Private collection.
Photo: Pedro Aboim Borges




















Farol da Guia. 1900.
Watercolour on paper. 35,5 x 39,2 cm.
Private collection.
Photo: Pedro Aboim Borges

Exhibition catalogue available in English

---- © Câmara Municipal de Cascais | Museu do Mar Rei D. Carlos