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José Meco

(fl Lisbon, c. 1720–60).

Portuguese decorative artist. His apprenticeship was probably undertaken with Master PMP, the painter of glazed tiles. His most important commission between 1729 and 1731 was for the panels of blue and white tiles, made in Lisbon, that cover the lower storey of the cloister of Oporto Cathedral, which represent scenes from the Song of Solomon. These panels are characteristic of the High Baroque phase of tile-making and show an appreciation of theatre and stage design in the deepening landscape backgrounds of the figurative panels, in the bold outlines and in the enlarged ornamental framing. The spectacular arched frames of the Oporto panels were influenced by Roman Baroque architectural ornament.

The attractive blue and white panels (c. 1735–45) in the cloister of the monastery of S Vicente de Fora, Lisbon, are attributable to Almeida. They contain landscapes, buildings, gardens, Baroque fountains, hunting scenes and other secular subjects, some after the engravings of ...

Article

José Meco

(b Lisbon, 1688; d Lisbon, 1753).

Portuguese decorative artist. He was highly active in the second quarter of the 18th century, during the period when High Baroque glazed tiles were produced in the Lisbon factories. His output was enormous, and his work was distributed throughout Portugal and Brazil. In partnership with his son-in-law, the painter Nicolau de Freitas (c. 1703–65), he continued the tradition of António de Oliveira Bernardes (see Bernardes family, §1). Under the influence of Joanine wood-carving and silver, the decorative borders of their tiles became richer and more elegant, dominated by grimacing masks and cascading palm and acanthus foliage. The tile makers adapted the convention of using arched frames, which end in garlanded volutes often accompanied by cherubs, for their high dado panels.

Two chapels in the church of Vilar de Frades, Barcelos, dated 1736 and 1742 are decorated with scenes, signed by Antunes and Freitas, from the Life of the Virgin...

Article

(b Sigüenza, Spain, 1649; d ?Lisbon, c. 1703).

Portuguese painter of Spanish origin. He arrived in Lisbon in 1669 and began his career as a decorative painter in the workshop milieu of the city. In the same year he married Agostina das Neves, the sister-in-law of the painter Marcos da Cruz. In 1681–2 he painted and gilded the ceiling of the choir and crossing in S Luís dos Franceses, Lisbon (destr. 1755). Documents show that from 1690 he confined himself to the painting of azulejos (glazed tiles). He contributed to the development of a monumental conception of figured panels and to the use of cobalt blue as the characteristic colour for Portuguese tiles. He developed the use of azulejos to form a unified pictorial design and created a repertory of decorative elements such as friezes of vases, flowers, single motif tiles and patterns. His important works include panels with scenes from the Life of St John the Baptist...

Article

José Meco

(fl first decade of the 18th century).

Portuguese painter and decorative artist. He may have been a pupil or collaborator of Gabriel del Barco y Minusca, whose work his resembles in the spontaneity of the painting, though Pereira’s work is more elaborate and careful in execution. The signed panels in the Capela Dourada in the church of the Ordem Terceira de S Francisco (Third Order of St Francis), Recife (Brazil), representing hunting scenes, date from 1703. Above the two dado panels of tiles, with medallions containing putti, in the sacristy of the church of Loreto, Lisbon, are landscapes (1704). His other signed works include a panel representing Christ and the Woman of Samaria (c. 1703), in the Misericórdia Church in Vidigueira. Other panels of tiles attributed to Pereira are: the two panels in the sanctuary in the parish church of Colares, Sintra, depicting two scenes from the Flight into Egypt (c. 1705–10...

Article

(b Bruges, April 1, 1698; d Bruges, Feb 17, 1781).

Flemish sculptor, architect and potter. He was probably first trained in his father’s carpenter’s workshop; in 1715 he was registered in Bruges as a master carpenter. He then worked with the Ghent sculptor Jan Boecksent (1660–1727), who had been assigned to decorate the Récolets church in Bruges and who was involved in the creation of the academy of Bruges. In 1722 Pulinx was appointed sculptor and decorator of municipal works, and in 1724 he became a member of a confraternity of painters that arose from the dissolution of the academy. During that period Pulinx worked mainly in wood, creating chiefly ecclesiastical furnishings, including some beautiful pulpits in the Watervleit church (1726) and in the Church of St Walburga at Furnes and the Heilig Bloedbaziliek at Bruges (both 1728). During the following decade he seems to have worked exclusively as an architect; among his works were his own house, In den Keerseboom (...

Article

José Meco

(bapt Elvas, May 5, 1700; d ?Oporto).

Portuguese decorative artist and designer. In 1723 he was living in Lisbon; in 1727 he was living in Oporto. He was first known in 1727 as designer of carved and gilded wooden retables for the cathedral of Oporto (destr.) and of the retable (1729) in the chapel of Nossa Senhora da Purificação, church of the College of S Lourenço, Oporto, a monumental Baroque work that fills one end of the transept. In 1734 Rifarto painted in Coimbra the blue and white glazed tiles for the upper storey of the cloister of the cathedral of Oporto and those for the registry of the chapter house (1733), which are of Classical and genre subjects, as well as religious scenes, framed with elaborate High Baroque borders. The panels, composed of medallions with sculptural motifs and Baroque ornament, in the sanctuary of the church of Azurara, Vila do Conde, date from ...

Article

José Meco

(fl first quarter of the 18th century).

Portuguese decorative artist. He may have been a pupil of Gabriel del Barco y Minusca, and he was certainly influenced by the panels of glazed tiles imported from the Netherlands and by the work of António de Oliveira Bernardes.

In 1703 Santos completed the tiled covering of the sanctuary of the parish church of Sardoal, begun by del Barco, in which two of the finest panels are devoted to the Life of St James. In 1706 he worked in Lisbon on the (documented) panels of the oratory of the Congregados monastery in Estremoz, which depict hermits and Baroque fountains, and in 1709 he worked on the decorated dado of the staircase of the Azevedo Coutinho palace in Lisbon (documented).

The panels in the Misericórdia Church in Olivenza (Spain), signed and dated 1723, represent the Acts of Mercy. Other works attributed to Santos are: the panels of the principal vestibule in the monastery of S Vicente de Fora, Lisbon (...

Article

José Meco

(fl first half of the 18th century).

Portuguese painter. He was apprenticed between 1707 and 1711 to the Lisbon workshop of António de Oliveira Bernardes. There he absorbed the Baroque vocabulary that is evident in his early signed tile panels of scenes from the Life of St Benedict (c. 1715) in the sanctuary of the church of S Bento, Viano do Castelo, and which reveals the influence of the painter known as Master PMP, with whom he collaborated. Santos’s work was exceptional for its theatricality and for the three-dimensional quality of the Baroque frames, which contain a variety of ornamental motifs, such as architectural volutes and pilasters, cherubs, scalloped scrolls and garlands of flowers. His later works are graceful and decorative, with greater emphasis on the scenographic and on the dramatic qualities of the subject-matter. This is apparent in the signed group of secular panels, whose subjects include hunting scenes, concerts, picnics and other fêtes galantes...