The Design of Portuguese Political Poster: Two Politics, Two Discourses

"The Design of Portuguese Political Poster: Two Politics, Two Discourses" by Helena Barbosa, Anna Calvera, and Vasco Branco (excerpt):

"The Portuguese constitution of 1933 brought profound ideological changes, which were reflected in the political propaganda posters produced during the period. One of the measures taken by the new regime (the “Estado Novo” or “New State”) was the publication of the “Decalogue of the Estado Novo," a document that was similar in concept to the Biblical “Ten Commandments,” in that it laid out a series of ‘laws’ presenting the intentions and objectives of the regime. Another was the creation of the Bureau for National Propaganda (SPN or Secretariado da Propaganda Nacional) (1933), led by António Ferro (1895-1956). His proximity to the modernists meant that he was able to encourage artists to serve the regime’s objectives. Consequently, some of the most highly-respected artists of the period were involved in the reformulation and divulgation of the image of this new Constitution. Thus, a unique language was created, which glorified folk traditions and national symbols, using a local aesthetic and specific iconography. Clearly distinguishable from what was being produced outside the country, the whole force of Portuguese identity was brought to bear in the promotion of a “politics of the soul” (Barbosa, 2008)....

Nationalist Poster

The Estado Novo made intensive use of nationalist iconography, not only in posters but also in other artifacts, drawing upon references from Portuguese history and culture. In fact, such iconography became so common that it became an aesthetic model, described in the “Decalogue of the Estado Novo” in the following terms:

“(...) traditionalism is a salutary exaltation of the collective memory (...). Tradition is a legacy that we should conserve and add to, a lesson that has been passed down to us by those generations whose sacrifice gave us our Fatherland. It undoubtedly constitutes ‘the categorical imperative of History!’” (SPN, 193-)."