About This Project

Alfredo Keil (1850-1907)




Descendant of a German family, Alfred Keil took a liking to painting and music from a very young age. He studied at the Fine Arts Academy and published his first musical work “Pensée Musicale” at the age of 12, and is renowned for operas such as “D. Branca, libretto by Almeida Garrett”. Following the English ultimatum of 1890, Keil created his most popular work “A Portuguesa” (lyrics by Henrique Lopes Mendonça). This patriotic song would be sung in the most significant moments of the republican resistance, such as in the Provisional Republic of Oporto on 31st January 1891 or, after Keil’s death, during the 5th October 1910 Revolution, when adopted by the Constituent Assembly of 1911 as the national anthem.


In Keil’s paintings, highlight goes to the landscapes and interior scenes, where the fine and delicate line reveals a taste for romance, inherited from his German education, but where you can already see some naturalist features.


Keil is also a collector and shows interest in archaeology, ethnography and literary activity. He published “Short News on old and Modern Music instruments of the Keil Collection” (1904), Collections and Art Museums in Portugal (1905) or Gorse and Rosemary, a collection of poems illustrated by the artist (1908).