Portrait of King Pedro IV

Offered by King Pedro to the Duke of Palmela, the painting displayed at the Museum Administration Room is attributed to the painter Máximo Paulino dos Reis (1778-1865), by the collector Stanislaw Herstal. From the biographical and artistic background of Paulino dos Reis, it should be noted that he was a native of Penafiel and was left in a foundling wheel from the Misericórdia do Porto. He went, very young, to Lisbon (1792), where he learned to draw and paint miniatures, and then to Rome (1802-1811). Paulino returned to Lisbon again, and worked at the Ajuda Palace, being master of painting and drawing of the Infanta Isabel Maria, daughter of King João VI.

The painting, which was probably executed between 1822 and 1824, is an oil on canvas representing King Pedro already as Emperor of Brazil and as Royal Prince of the Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarves.

King Pedro IV, Provedor of Misericórdia do Porto
King Pedro IV was elected Provedor of the Santa Casa da Misericórdia do Porto on the day of the Visitation of Our Lady, July 2, 1833, when traditionally, the Provedores took office.

In 1833, the population suffered the consequences of the Siege of Porto that caused destruction, hunger and death. Adding to all this it took place, in this same year, the spread of cholera morbus claiming many lives in the city. This epidemic led to the construction of two cemeteries, at the opposite ends of the city, according to King Pedro’s approval. It is in the eastern cemetery, called “Prado do Repouso”, that the Misericórdia do Porto has its private section in which stands, among other funerary monuments, the Mausoleum of the Martyrs of Liberty that houses the remains of the twelve liberal men sentenced by the Miguelista regime in 1829.

The Misericórdia do Porto had few Brothers, which led the Brotherhood, on June 30, 1833, to accept influential people from the city who were not Brothers. By decision of July 1, 1833, it was up to the royal power to ratify changes to the Commitment. King Pedro approved this amendment which validated his election as Provedor, even though he was not a Brother of Misericórdia do Porto.

King Pedro took office on July 6 at the Santo António Hospital, where the administration and the secretariat were. They had left the headquarters on Rua das Flores due to security reasons. This date corresponds to the only time that the regent presided at a session of the Administration. In this session, King Pedro, aware of the institution’s financial difficulties, proposed the invitation of rich and important people to join the fraternity, and also, due to the increase number of patients in the hospital, the implementation of a new “agenda of economic diets adapted to the new curative method”. This agenda was presented to the Administration on August 14, 1833, and was drawn up by a Commission headed by the Prince Regent physician and was composed by two doctors of his confidence, two doctors from the Hospital, one from the Prison and another from the Recolhimento de Órfãs (orphanage).

In the absence of the Provedor, it was up to registrar to carry out his function. Given that the elections of the year 1834-1835 were approaching and that King Pedro’s desire for his re-election was unknown, the Administration decided to propose the title of “natural provedor”, and appoint a vice-director to replace him. This situation, unique in the history of the institution, lasted until April 6, 1836.

by José Ferreira e Silva

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