Júlio and Saúl Dias, two names,
two pseudonyms for one and the same poet: Júlio, the
painter, the plastic poet; Saúl Dias, the poet of words
and of the music of sounds. They both are the
protagonists of the poetic art of Júlio Maria dos
Reis Pereira, an artist of Portuguese modernism,
born in 1902 in Vila do Conde, where he died in 1983.
Júlio and Saúl Dias, two names, two pseudonyms for one and the same poet: Júlio, the painter, the plastic poet; Saúl Dias, the poet of words and of the music of sounds. They both are the protagonists of the poetic art of Júlio Maria dos Reis Pereira, an artist of Portuguese modernism, born in 1902 in Vila do Conde, where he died in 1983.
There is in Júlio and Saúl Dias a course made of parallel and converging ways in which the "muda poesia" (mute poetry) Camões spoke of(1) -painting - completes itself and meets with poetic melody, the "pintura que fala" (painting which speaks)(2), in an essential creative unity. A singular case of convergency of poetry, painting, and music; a music which one does not hear but feels in the poems' lines, in the vibrations of trace and colour, a music which is the support of the oniric movement of Júlio's characters in the stories he tells about the world of dream and of the mind, which is his own.
There is a quantitative difference between the poetic production of Júlio and Saúl Dias, which must be emphasized: Saúl Dias published seven small books - between 1932 and 1980-which were compiled, when the author was still alive, in one volume(3); it is a restrained, depurated, years-old poetry, to complete a poem. By his turn, Júlio, the painter, develops a more apparent, intensely productive activity, having been an active participant in the modernist movement in Portugal.
Under a necessarily general perspective, we could say that the works of Júlio are born out of a lyrical expressionism (1927), develop in his first abstract (1932) and surrealistic (1935) experiments and find their continuity in an original, characteristic poetic depuration, especially perceptible in the drawings, water colours and oil-paintings of his last phase. An ever-growing artistic activity which ended only with his death and which is, admittedly, one of the greatest in the history of 20th century Portuguese painting.(5)
Holding a degree in civil engineering (University of Oporto), Júlio dos Reis Pereira carried out his professional activity only insofar as was demanded by his family needs and responsibilities-where the writer of the present article is, being the only child of the poet, included - keeping the best of his time for the production of his autonomous, independent artistic works, exempt from both official orders and influences and dominant tendencies. Being an engineer was, for him, a way of being independent, of being able to carry out coherently an innovatory work, a poetic vigour in which each step is the sequence of the previous, worth in its own terms, in the terms of what has come before, and in terms of what is expected to follow.
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