Literary Screenplay of the Raia-Régio House-Museum
The José Régio House-Museum in Portalegre was installed in what was José Régio's home for 34 years.When José Régio was placed at the Liceu Mouzinho da Silveira, in Portalegre, the house was a pension with the name of Pensão 21, where he stayed. It dates from the end of the 17th century and was an annex of the S. Brás convent, of which there are still some traces, namely the chapel. It also served as headquarters during the peninsular wars and much later as pension 21. José Régio rented a humble room and as the need for space increased with the constant expansion of his collection, he rented the other rooms in the house, until he became a single guest. In 1965 he sells his collection to the Municipality of Portalegre on the condition that they acquire the house, restore and transform it into a Museum. The house where the poet José Régio lived while he was a teacher in Portalegre, was transformed into a museum, two years after his death, in 1971, on the initiative of the Municipality of Portalegre. With the interior unchanged, following the poet's desire, he presents the public with a rich collection of sacred and popular art from the region, which he had been gathering throughout his life. The existing collection in the museum resulted from José Régio's taste for antiques and for collecting that, according to him, was born early due to the influence of his grandfather, but it was in Alentejo that it expanded and developed. The Portalegre region was fertile for this activity, and it quickly spread that there was a high school teacher who bought old things. It started out as a hobby, but it quickly becomes a regular activity, almost an addiction. Among the vast number of objects, those of religious art stand out, whether of monastic or popular origin, there is also local handicrafts of a utilitarian and decorative nature. In addition to some monastic works and an oratory, he gathered an extensive collection of Christs in the most diverse presentations and representations, most of them in wood, Santo António’s, flat saints (with flattened backs), the kings of David's house (representation of the ancestry of Jesus), clay from Portalegre and rustic furniture. Almost entirely, these pieces were produced by illiterate masters, but with a certain natural way and a lot of manual talent. The Christs were part of the trousseau for brides in times past. Portalegre clay is strongly expressive in its intense colors and forms simultaneously powerful and graceful, appropriate for the sensitive intensity of those who lived very close to nature. There is also a remarkable collection of earthenware, especially dishes from Coimbra called "ratinhos", brought by seasonal migrants who came from the north to harvest in the Alentejo, and who exchanged them for clothes and fabrics before returning to their homes. From the locals, he bought the tins, the coppers, the forged irons, and other curiosities of Alentejo handicrafts, such as bread and cake markers, wooden markers or painters (to mark the bread in community ovens), thimbles and tubes (protections for the reapers' fingers) and pieces made of horns, such as cornas (containers for olives) and powder horns. These objects were mainly the work of shepherds, hence they are usually called "pastoral art", and are pointed out as representing the psychology of the authors themselves, if they had a piece of wood, cork, cane or horn at hand, they would create painters, thimbles, powder horns (powder containers), tarros and tarretas (cork containers), with inscriptions, dates and names. Also worth mentioning is a painting by a friend of Régio, Ventura Porfírio, in which the poet appears portrayed in his office, also another painting that represents Portalegre at the end of the 19th century and an extensive collection of mortars. The museum has two kitchens. One of them has an exposition of the collection of the “ratinhos” dishes and pieces in iron, such as skewers supports. Wrought iron was widely used for the shapes of those same supports (in kitchens) and for decorating doors and windows, combining art with functionality. In the other kitchen are pastoral works. In addition to the collection described, Casa Museu has a varied literary collection divided between the house itself, the reserves and the study center. The exhibited collections are distributed in 17 permanent exhibition rooms and a reservation room, occupying the two floors of the building.
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