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Game of Checkers

Checkers Artist Joao Abel Manta

João Abel Manta, from 1888 to 1982,
near Gouveia, Portugal.

João Abel Manta

João Abel Manta 1943
Artist Self Portraits

  • As a young man, artist Joao Manta was motivated to move to Lisbon in 1904 to study art at the school of Fine Art by the support he received from the Countess of Vinhó and Almedina, who was a painter.

  • In 1916, Joao Manta completed his art studies and three years later he traveled to Paris, where he became involved in various ateliers and salons and also discovered the work of the Impressionists.

  • His own artwork was greatly influenced by this style, specifically the work of Cézanne.

  • Joao Manta possessed a natural propensity for analyzing objects and their inherent structure and true beauty.

  • Joao Manta's subjects consisted primarily of still life compositions and portraiture and in his choice as well as depiction, he remained faithful to the imagery of his models.

  • As a result of his realism and natural representation within his work, Manta became known as one of the best portraitists of his time.

  • Artist Joao Manta soon became renowned for his unique ability to integrate the psychological expression of his sitters within a coherent plastic and pictorial system of forms and this element could be seen in the painting, Jogo de Damas (Game of Checkers) from 1927.

  • The composition reveals his preference for nearly photographic situations and the diligent observation of attitude of the checkers players towards to the game and towards one another.

  • The checkers player in this portrait was his wife, painter Clementina Carneiro de Moura and Abel painted her in a pensive mood in front of the checkerboard, detached from her checkers opponent facing her in this battle of wits.

  • Both figures were represented by Manta from a slightly elevated perspective that depicted a stillness surrounding the checkers game but also placed the observer within the pervasive tension that preceded the next checker move.

  • Within the composition of the checkers game, checkers artist Joao Manta placed the bottom half of the scene in dark shadows but then in stark contrast to the foreground brightly highlighted the light yellow table top in the middle ground, drawing the viewer’s focus to the checkerboard as well as the pose and facial expression of Clementina.

  • The dark shadows also created an emotional tension that was offset by the pastel blue of the wall in the background, insinuating that a peace would soon follow the game of checkers.

  • The checker motif was repeated in the subtle red and yellow pattern in the floor.

  • The Checkers Game painting revived the constructive and plastic values of Cézanne, as well as clearly defining Manta's taste for naturalist configuration and sensuality found in the expressive force of the subdued color patterns; Joao Manta paid a lot of attention towards the realism of the situation, in trying to express his “fidelity to what is seen”; this stylistic trend may have been inherited from one of his mentors, artist Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro.

  • Joao Abel Manta certainly evoked Pinheiro’s flair within the mood of his interior motifs, decisive attitudes of the figures and his selection of subtle moments.

  • Manta returned to Portugal in 1926 and although he remained an artist, Joao Manta dedicated himself to teaching technical drawing at the School of Decorative Arts António Arroio.

  • From 1933, Joao Abel Manta participated in exhibitions at the Sociedade Nacional de Belas-Artes and the salons of the SPN/SNI, which awarded him the “Silva Porto” Prize in 1942.

  • Visits to Lisbon brought forth the naturalist in him, as he both felt and understood the city’s inherent structure and pervasive atmosphere and through his themes and artistic points of view, Manta created accurate images of the city.

  • Artist Joao Manta's genre views depicted clearly an Impressionist inspiration and presented the daily bustle of urban life, wherein small silhouettes of human figures merely punctuated space to supply the composition with a sense of scale.

  • Aside from his love of painting and a fondness for observation, Manta also enjoyed literary clubs, especially the ones held at A Brasileira Café, which became a meeting place for artistic minds that provided an academic environment that allowed the discussion on the current art scene.

  • Joao Abel Manta exhibited his images in public viewing's at:

  • The Portuguese pavilion at the Seville Exhibition in 1929.

  • The Colonial Exhibition of Paris in 1931.

  • The Exhibition of Arts and Techniques of Modern Life in 1937.

  • He also created the stained glass windows of the Instituto Nacional de Estatística in 1933, as well as the stained glass models for the lateral nave of the Jerónimos Church in 1935.

  • In 1957, the Portuguese artist Joao Manta was awarded the First Prize of the “Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian Painting Award”.

  • Despite advancing years, Joao Abel Manta continued express his ideas in ways that were important to him; he was not concerned about whether the popular trend was avant-garde or academism but remained true to himself and his personal style.

  • He exhibited his work with artist Dórdio Gomes in 1965, and like the art of Gomes, some saw Manta’s creations as “traditionalist” and others viewed them as “modern”; however, these opinions meant little to Manta, who continued to develop his particular artistic renderings regardless of contemporary opinion.

  • To the end of his days, artist Joao Abel Manta was sincere to himself above all and his course as an artist was developed without a set aesthetic commitment.
Checker Artist Joao Players
Checker Artist Joao "Players"

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DeerLake Online Store Items

Wonder Mugs Play checkers online, and enjoy drinking from this cool wonder mug.
When adding hot liquid, the colors of the mug will change, checkers cool.

Checkers is a two-player game, where one player is assigned white-chip checkers and the other red. The aim is to play checkers online, capture all of the other player's checkers or make them impossible to move.

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