The Portuguese artist Barahona Possollo has established himself both as a mainstream artist, creating the official portrait of the former president of Portugal, Anibal Cavaco Silva, and collaborating in the production of a series of  commemorative stamps for the 500th anniversary of Vasco da Gama’s arrival in India, and also as a groundbreaking creator of erotic art, regularly exploring controversial and transgressive themes.

Raised in the Portuguese capital Lisbon, he first read architecture at the Instituto Superior Técnico (Technical University) of Lisbon from 1986 to 1989, before discovering his love of painting, which he studied at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Lisbon University, where he now teaches.

Barahona Possollo’s painting style is figurative, realistic, almost photographic, drawing heavily on classical themes from Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Eastern traditions. As he explains, ‘figuration is a language that we can all decode. The beings and objects represented can be understood by the observer as parts of a story or situation which has meaning for them. Of course, a critic can expand the scope of personal readings, but anyone can establish his or her own immediate connection with the image. We are not slaves to the often enigmatic and incomprehensible interpretations of critics. And I believe that the human body is something sacred, valuable and symbolic. Bodies contain an infinite content of history and meanings, the exploration of which is endlessly fascinating.’

Possollo’s works can be found in collections in Portugal, Spain, France, Switzerland, Italy, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the USA and Argentina. Commissioned portraits hang in, among other places, the Vatican, The White House in Washington, and the Bank of Portugal.

Barahona Possollo’s website can be found here, and his Instagram account here.

We are very grateful to our Russian friend Yuri for introducing us to the work of this artist, and for supplying many of the images.

Example illustration