Doctor, historian, archaeologist, ethnographer, army officer and art critic
Joaquim Pedro Vitorino Ribeiro was born at 204, Rua do Bonfim, on 20 January 1882. He was the oldest of three children born to the painter and collector Joaquim Vitorino Ribeiro and of Lucinda Lucrécia de Freitas Ribeiro.
Between 1895 and 1902, he studied at the Porto Central High School, where he sat all his exams except for German, which he wrote at the Braga Central High School (1904). He also studied at the Porto Industrial Institute (1901-1902). He then attended the Polytechnic Academy of Porto (1902-1905), and accompanied the "Estudantina Académica do Porto" [university choir] on a tour to Galicia in 1902.
From here he moved to the Medical-Surgical School of Porto where, in 1910, he completed the Medicine course with the thesis "Socorros de urgência - Breves Notas" [Emergency assistance - some notes]. He then left for Paris, where he specialized in Radiology.
He returned to Porto in 1911. In 1919, he was appointed auxiliary doctor of Santa Casa da Misericórdia and Head of the Radiology and Photography Laboratory of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto, where he had held functions as the Head of the Photography and Electrotherapy Department since 1913.
Alongside his academic training and medical career, he was involved in many other humanitarian and cultural activities. He was an army officer (a volunteer in the Infantry in 1901, second-lieutenant in 1911, lieutenant-doctor in 1915 and captain in 1918), and even participated in the 1st World War as a non-commissioned captain-doctor, joining the Portuguese Expeditionary Corp that left for Paris in April 1918.
He worked in the Municipal Museum of Porto (1922-1938) as curator and Deputy-Director, but left this institution in 1938 to assume the position of Head of the Radiology Services of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Porto.
As a scholar and disseminator of the History, Painting and Archaeology of Porto, Pedro Vitorino wrote many books and articles published in several periodicals. He wrote José Teixeira Barreto, Artista Portuense (1925) [J.T.B., A Porto Artist], Cerâmica Portuense (1930) [Ceramics from Porto], Os Museu de Arte do Porto (1930) [The Art Museums in Porto], Iconografia Histórico-Portuense (1932) [Historical Porto Iconography], Notas de Arqueologia Portuense (1937) [Comments on Porto Archaeology] and Invasões Francesas (1945) [French Invasions], among other books.
He collaborated in the journals "O Lusitano" and "Estudante" and in the magazine "Pétalas" (under the pseudonym Victor Nerêo, which he used in some of his early works), with magazines and newspapers such as "O Arqueólogo Português", "O Tripeiro", "Águia", "Revista de Estudos Históricos" of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Porto, "Revista de Guimarães", "Arquivo Nacional de Ex-libris", "Ilustração Moderna", "Museu", "Boletim Cultural da Câmara Municipal do Porto", "Boletim do Salão Silva Porto", "Feira da Ladra", "Boletim do Douro-litoral", "Jornal do Médico" and "Arquivos de História da Medicina Portuguesa".
He directed the magazine "Portucale" since 1929 together with Dr. Augusto Martins and Dr. Cláudio Basto, until the first one died in 1932, and then with the latter with whom he directed the magazine "Lusa", in Viana do Castelo. He was one of the editors of "O Tripeiro", since the 5th edition 4th series.
Pedro Vitorino organized art exhibitions. He planned the Porto Museum of Ethnography, to be located in São João Novo, and was indirectly involved in the creation of the Museum of the History of Medicine "Maximiano Lemos", located at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto (1933). This museum was formed from a group of items that were part of the medical-surgical collection from 1925, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Royal School of Surgery of Porto, sponsored by Professor Alfredo de Magalhães and organized by Pedro Vitorino and Alberto Saavedra, which was held at the Palácio de Cristal.
From 1934 on, and in collaboration with Dr. Roberto de Carvalho, his colleague in the Radiology Service of Santo António Hospital, he used radiology exams to analyse old paintings.
He was a fire-fighter in the Voluntary Fire-Brigade of Porto, Brother and Board Member of Santa Casa da Misericórdia of Porto. He was also a member of the Provincial Commission of Ethnography and History of the Provincial Board of Coastal-Douro and an organizing member of the Ethnography and History Museum of the said Board. He was also an Officer of the Order of Christ, corresponding member of the National Academy of Fine Arts, member of the Institute of Coimbra, of the Institute of Archaeology, History and Ethnography of the Portuguese Association of Archaeologists, and a member of the Society of Anthropology and Ethnology of the "Comité Internationale d’Histoire des Sciences".
He travelled across several countries in Europe, for example Spain, France, Belgium and Switzerland, and participated in archaeology and artistic conferences throughout the country, drawing, painting and taking photographs.
The owner of a vast iconography heritage and of an extensive library, now preserved in the Public Municipal Library of Porto, Pedro Vitorino lived with his brother in Contumil in the house which had belonged to their father and which became the Vitorino Ribeiro House-Museum.
He was friends with the Abbot of Baçal, with José Leite de Vasconcelos, Marques Abreu, Aarão de Lacerda, Cláudio Basto, Kol de Alvarenga, Armando de Matos, Luís Reis Santos and the two brothers and artists Francisco and José de Oliveira Ferreira.
This multifaceted, learned and discreet man, who used to wear a round black hat with its brim turned upwards and wore a short moustache and black tie, died in a tragic car accident. Dr. Ferreira Alves, his school fellow and friend, was travelling with him in a car when they collided against a freight train at the Francelos level crossing, Vila Nova de Gaia, in the evening of 10 November 1944.
Pedro Vitorino is buried at the Prado do Repouso Cemetery, in Porto. His tombstone is decorated with a bas-relief by the sculptor Sousa Caldas.
(Universidade Digital / Gestão de Informação, 2009)