The Arco Escuro by Roque Gameiro

A Memory for the Future

This wonderful painting by Roque Gameiro, dated 1925, Uma Varina a passar no Arco Escuro, em  Alfama, represents the exact point where [A] Space is  based. This is a wonderful composition that represents a Varina, a fish seller, popular figure that no longer exists. Varina is the designation that the inhabitants of Lisbon gave to the street vendors of fish. The word originates from the women who come from Ovar to the capital, The Ovarinas. With the decline of fishing, especially sardines, in the northern part of Portugal, fishermen were forced to emigrate to areas further south, many of them from Ovar, to Lisbon district.


Alfredo Roque Gameiro studied at the Lisbon Academy of Fine Arts, where he was a student of Manuel Maria de Macedo, José Simões de Almeida and Enrique Casanova. He also attended the Leipzig School of Arts and Crafts, as a fellow of the Portuguese Government, where he studied lithography with Ludwig Nieper. Returning to Portugal, in 1886, he directed the Companhia Nacional Editora and in 1894 he was appointed professor at the Industrial School of Príncipe Real. With its name there are three institutions in Portugal, two of them in Amadora: the Roque Gameiro School (2nd and 3rd cycle of Basic Education) and the "Casa Roque Gameiro" residence of the artist and family (currently exhibition space of the municipality); the other exists in Minde, his homeland: the Roque Gameiro Arts and Crafts Center, which includes the Roque Gameiro Watercolor Museum. Most of his works are in the collection of the Minde Museum (works belonging to the museum and works of family members and the Gulbenkian Foundation in storage).


March 7, 2021