Carlos Martins (1946 - )

À noite em Setil
Setil at Night

Aquatint on paper
height: 27cm
width: 26cm

Donated by Carlos Martins 1998


Martins had received a British Academy grant to study architecture at Edinburgh University between 1973 and 1975, and in his final year he studied etching at the Slade, London, where he also went on to take a specialised course in printmaking techniques. Journey to Portugal is a series of individually titled engravings produced during this time, of which ESCALA has three examples. In this engraving from the series, À noite em Setil, Martins repeats the interplay between interior and exterior used in the composition of Top Flat. Here however, a closely cropped focus on the windowpane creates a disorientating interplay between inside and outside. Different qualities of light - the moon, reflections on the glass, and the darkened interior walls - are described through differently engraved textures. While undertaking specialist training in printmaking technique, Martins was also gaining close familiarity with historic works at the Print Rooms of the British Museum. The series title is perhaps inspired by M. Link's famous 1797 work 'Voyage en Portugal', a visual record of travel through regions of Portugal concentrating, unusually for the time, on personal rather than monumental landmarks. Journey to Portugal is therefore an early indication of Martins' interest in the European tradition of the traveller-artist. On returning to Brazil Martins became particularly interested in 'Brasiliana': works by 19th century European artists documenting their impressions of travelling to Brazil.

Isobel Whitelegg, 2008

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