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Aurélia de Souza: Google Doodle celebrates Portuguese painter’s 155th birthday

Google Doodle celebrates the 155th birthday of Portuguese painter Aurélia de Souza, one of the few women whose work was exhibited in galleries close by Portugal’s incredible nineteenth-century painters, on June 13, 2021.

Who was Aurélia de Souza?

Self portrait Aurelia de Souza
Aurélia de Souza

Maria Aurélia Martins de Sousa was born on June 13, 1866, to Portuguese immigrants in Valparaíso, Chile. Mixed with strokes of realist and impressionist influences, de Souza’s naturalist paintings served as windows into daily Portuguese life through landscapes of her journeys and her personal favorite genre: self-and family pictures.

The family lived in Brazil and Chile before moving back to Porto, Portugal in 1869, when Aurélia de Souza was three years of age. Her family got back to their country in the wake of gaining a farm along the Douro river close to Porto, Portugal.

They lived in the Quinta de China close to the Douro River in a home purchased by her father before he died in 1874 when she was eight years of age. It was on these idyllic banks that de Souza started to paint and draw at 16 years old. At sixteen years old, she started taking exercises with António da Costa Lima and painted her first self-portrait.

After just three years, Aurélia de Souza painted her first self-portrait—an art form that became her hallmark. In 1893 she started studies at the Fine Arts Academy of Porto, where she was a student of João Marques de Oliveira, who significantly affected her style.

In 1898, Aurélia de Souza moved to Paris to study painting at the Julian Academy, taking courses with Jean-Paul Laurens and Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant. When De Souza lived in Paris in 1899, where she extended her palette as an apprentice of a few French masters.

After one year in her new home, she captured herself dressed wearing a red coat in the oil painting “Self-Portrait,” a work generally viewed as her most famous. She kept on draw influence from the international arts in the years that followed, traveling across Europe before getting back to Portugal in 1902.

Aurélia de Souza held her first exhibition, then, traveled in Europe in the next three years, before at long last getting back to Portugal in 1901, where she worked as an illustrator and partook regularly in Porto’s art scene, exhibiting at the Sociedade de Belas-Artes do Porto, in the Galeria da Misericórdia, and every year in the Sociedade Nacional de Belas-Artes, in Lisbon.

Aurélia de Souza’s paintings were consistently included at her institute of matriculation, only one of the numerous renowned Portuguese galleries that championed her work. Notwithstanding her lifelong work as a painter, de Souza likewise represented for Portuguese magazines and the 1913 short story named “Perfis Suaves” (“Smooth Profiles”).

Aurélia de Souza’s painting was of a personal and naturalist style, at times with realism, impressionism, and post-impressionism influences. Her subjects included pictures, scenes, and landscapes of everyday life. She is generally popular for her “Self-Portrait”, painted in 1900.

Aurélia de Souza died in 1922, at 55 years of age in Porto, Portugal.

On June 13, 2021, Google observes Aurélia de Souza’s 155th Birthday with a Google Doodle.

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