|José Marques da Silva
Architect and teacher
José Marques da Silva was born in Porto on 18 October 1869. He attended primary and secondary school in Ordem da Trindade School, where he prepared for the Porto Academy of Fine Arts. While he studied, he also helped his father at his workshop, where he acquired a taste for art and work.
He joined the Academy in the academic year 1881-1882 at the age of 12, and in 1887-1888 he completed his studies. He then began preparing the work for a scholarship competition to study architecture abroad, organized by the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Lisbon, which he lost to Adães Bermudes. As a result, his trip to Paris was funded by his father.
Marques da Silva arrived in Paris in 1889 to attend several workshops owned by famous artists in order to prepare his admission to the "École des Beaux-Arts" of Paris. He was admitted as "aspirant" in the gallery of the "École des Beaux-Arts" in February 1890, and on 6 August in the same year he was accepted in the 2nd class, later rising to the 1st class in 1893. Marques da Silva completed his studies on 10 December 1896 after sitting the final exams.
On returning to Portugal, he was appointed Merit Scholar of the Porto Academy of Fine Arts following the silver medal he received in the 1900 exhibition in Paris, which earned him a good reputation. He was responsible for several chairs and became a highly respected teacher. He was also the Head of the Academy, ensuring, above all, its good operation, and fought for better conditions for its students. In October 1939, at the age of 70, he stepped down as teacher and Head of the Porto School of Fine Arts.
Marques da Silva left many works, including some famous projects such as S. Bento railway station, the "A Nacional" building, the department stores Grandes Armazéns Nascimento, Casa de Serralves and Rodrigues de Freitas and Alexandre Herculano High Schools, in Porto. He also worked in funerary architecture and left his mark in other Portuguese cities, such as Guimarães and Barcelos. He was, undoubtedly, one of the greatest 20th century Portuguese artists, receiving many tributes. He died in Porto on 6 June 1947.
(Text by João Vasco Barbosa Carneiro, 2008)