Little is known about Vasco Fernandes, universally known as Grão Vasco (“The Great Vasco”); it can only be said that he was born in or near the city of Viseu, probably in 1475, and that he died in 1542 or 1543. There was no major artist living in Viseu at the time to mentor the young Vasco Fernandes, so it’s assumed that he trained in Lisbon or even abroad. Even more problematic for art historians is that virtually all the works associated with him – up to one hundred by some counts – have had to be identified by comparisons with the only two that he definitely signed, and with his known work on the surviving altar panels for Lamego and Viseu cathedrals. In many cases, his attributed works are collaborations, particularly with his Viseu contemporary Gaspar Vaz (1490–1569).

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Portugal features

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18 Oct 2018 • Jenny Cahill-Jones insert_drive_file Article
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25 Jul 2018 • Sarah Gilbert insert_drive_file Article
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