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Born in Lisbon, Paula Rego was educated in the English style, being the student of the Slade Art School. She learnt how to paint under the guiding of Coldstream. Her first paintings are influenced by Dubuffet's picture and the subjects illustrate themes of the respective time.


At this stage, the drawing is linear and stark. The quality of the line is determined by the length of time it stays in the acid, the longer in the acid, the darker the line becomes. This whole process is described by professor Paul Coldwell. Drawing is central to the painter's work, being the way in which her works are born.
The Portuguese painter found her source of inspiration in fairy tales like Fantasia, Snow White and Pinocchio. And she made her pictures resemble the children's drawings. But as compared to the representation of beautiful figures, illustrating the good characters of the fairy tale, Paula Rego's characters are far from being described by the adjective "beautiful" in the sense we understand the meaning of the word "beauty".
Taking as example the painting entitled "Swallows the poisoned apple" we notice how different the Snow White we are shown here is from the image of the young and delicate charater of Grimm's fairy tale. It's definitely not a beautiful young girl what we see. On the contrary, the female character in the painting looks old and ugly. She doesn't appear as it would in a common drawing, lying artistically on the floor, but she is half on the floor, half on the sofa, in a position that conveys pain realistically. ...
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