29/04/15

PORTO (Udane Juaristi, 2010)

Diapositiva1

This picture represents the tram of Porto. It is made with pencil on wood in 2010 by Udane Juaristi (Azkoitia, 1985). She is a painter who is licensed in Fine Arts specializing in painting and studies in l´École Nationale de Beaux Arts of Paris. This picture is part of a collection entitled “cars and trams” and has been exposed in many cities of Spain, above all in the Basque Country. The picture is not dated, but we can know that is a modern painting according to the style of the cars and the clothing of the people. We can see as the principal element the tram, specifically the number 22, what has allowed us to know the area of the city. The picture was taken near St Catarina Street, that is the main shopping area of the city; this is pedestrian street and is located at the top of the city. As a curiosity in the picture we can see some seagulls because in Porto there is a big colony of urban seagulls.

Porto is one of the most important cities in Portugal, although it is not a very big city (237.559 habitants). It was founded in 1123 and it is situated in the North of Portugal, on the right bank of the Duero river. Actually, Porto has centralized its urban structure around the Duero river. Apart from this center the city has many slopes, caused by the difference in height between the Duero river and the highest points of the city which is around 75 meters. As many other European cities, Porto is an old town with a wide historical heritage, but in recent decades has undergone an extensive modernization. It has the longest subway netweork in Portugal to cover the whole metropolitan area, from the city center to outskirst. Also, the Sá Carneiro International Airport has recently been expanded to a capacity of 16 million passengers a year.

In Porto, old trams have been restored and only three lines are working nowadays. The line 22 circulates between the Carso area and the area of Batalha, where the Batalha Square and São João theatre are, and it also passes along the Avenue of the Allies and very near of Santa Catarina street.

In the 19th century Porto had an economic and political decline in the city with only some service activities, such as shipping and maritime trade. But in the decade of 1890 and the beginning of the 20th century the port of Leixoes boosted an economic growth in Porto coinciding with industrialization and the arrival of the Republic. A symbol of this era is the construction of the Avenue of the Allies. The urban space of Porto started to be developed in the late 19th century. A new Central Business District was created and an intense process of functions specialization was set on each urban area. The constructions made in the early 20th century broke with the traditional ambience of the city and consolidated modernity. The railway station of São Bento was an example of new communications in Porto, that converge several roads and railway lines, which also contributed to turn the city into the main shopping center in the Northern region of Portugal. Despite the progressive outsourcing center, industrial activity continues to be of great importance to the work in its industrial belt full of factories for textiles, footwear, furniture, ceramics, metalwork, jewelry and other manufacturing activities, some also craft.

In 1919, as a response of the Lisbon attempt of independence, conducted by Paiva Couceiros, Porto became tentatively capital of Northern Portugal. The immediate Republican reaction ended the uprising. The Salazar dictatorship, which lasted until the Carnation Revolution of 1974, much improved infrastructure, highlighting the construction Porto Arrábida Bridge in 1963. In 2001 Porto was, next to Rotterdam, cultural capital of Europe and, for such an event, the striking auditorium “Casa da Música” was built in Boavista, symbol of the capital. Today Porto, economically speaking, is lagging behind Lisbon, while still maintaining its reputation for working, open and welcoming city.

César Martín López

29/04/15

PORTO (Jano Muñoz, 2010)

Cielo encima de Oporto

This picture was painted by Jano Muñoz in 2010, and its title is “Cielo encima de Oporto”. It was displayed in Moret Art Gallery in 2010, in an exhibition of Contemporary Art in A Coruña, Spain. Jano Muñoz was born in 1971 in Galicia. He is a contemporary but classical painter who is used to painting landscapes. This type of painting centers its attention on the commercial life of the Porto harbour and the façade of the buildings in the 20th Century.

The city of Porto is situated in the North of Portugal and is the second most important in the country. We should mention that Oporto means “port”, because the Duero river had a lot of importance in city since ancient times. This image represents the Duero river, the harbour of Porto and some traditional examples of the architecture of the city. The painting is divided into two parts; on the one hand we can se a very cloudy sky, although it is still beautiful, on the other hand, it is represented the commercial life and restaurants of the touristic zone of the riverside. Also, we can see boats and ships which could represents the activity of fishing and trade.

We can infere the urban layout of Porto as irregular except the riverside promenade that forms a line of traditional buildings parallel to the river. Generally speaking, the streets and buildings outline is inappropiate and suffers a huge deterioration, so it can be a problem for the people who currently live there. In the foreground, we can see the Main Street in the right margin of the picture, which is a kind of market place and leisure area, next to the harbour. At the top of this part, there is a small castle and other ancient buildings. Regarding the buildings, we should mention their façades; we can highlight them and their subdued colours, such as blue, white or yellow. The appearance of the city is cramped because all the buildings are close to the others wihout much space between them. It is curious to note that the old quarter was named a World Heritage Site in 1996 due to the importance os some monuments, such as the Stock Market Palace (World Heritage Site), the Cathedral (built in the XVII Century) and the Tower of the Priests.

As a curiosity, Porto has the longest underground in Portugal. Interestingly, we can point out the importance of the vineyards and the wine of Porto, that are a very popular attraction for tourists and also a significant good for economic activities. To conclude, it is also important to mention that Porto is known too as the city of bridges.

Laura Sepúlveda de la Mata