José Sommer Ribeiro1995

Written for the exhibition
Pintura 1971-1994 / Painting 1971-1994 – Fundación Arte y Tecnologia, Telefónica, Madrid, 1995
Much has been written on Manuel Amado’s painting, on his various influences – Giotto, De Chirico, Magritte or Hopper – and also on the silence and quietude of his pictures. 
I believe, however, that two further factors have decisively marked his work: his education and the fact that he spent over twenty years working as an architect.   

I was fortunate to become acquainted, in the mid-1930s, at the São Martinho do Porto beach, with his father, Fernando Amado, who was an extremely cultured man and a very talented communicator. I always remember him surrounded by young people, awakening in them an interest not only in athletics, but also in literature and the theatre. If he managed, during these short vacation periods, to leave his stamp on several generations, we can be sure of how influential he was in his son’s development. The other significant factor was, doubtlessly, his work as an architect. His first paintings offer ample proof of this.     

The precision, simplicity and interplay of light and shade which characterise the interiors of the palace that used to be his home were quite instrumental in developing his ability to create spaces that, in spite of the human figure’s absence from them, are always inhabited. 

In 1987, he courageously relinquished architecture to fully dedicate himself to painting. 

His oeuvre has become increasingly richer and more varied: railway stations, architectural groups, beaches, landscapes or trees are all subjects he approaches with typical restraint, but in which volumes and light continue to hold utmost importance. 

Manuel Amado’s work is unique in the current Portuguese contemporary painting scene. He is not concerned with following international trends: ‘To me, painting is the most direct form of representing reality, considering that reality is made by ourselves, without interference of the word or fictions.’ 

Such is his great wisdom!