Meet Portugal's first cartoonist, Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro

On a recent trip to Portugal I discovered The Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro Museum. According to its website it's "the most entertaining museum in Lisbon"—and I agree!

Polymath Pinheiro was a 19th century writer, cartoonist, entrepreneur, ceramicist, and political commentator. Struck me as a blend of the talents and personalities of Mark Twain, Thomas Nast, Diego Rivera, and Ernie Kovaks, all rolled up into one.

This small and fun museum cleverly displays the story of Pinhiero's life and career with a collection of drawings, paintings, photographs, ceramics and pottery, political cartoons, and product designs. There are newspaper comics with him transforming into his own pencil, political cartoon characters recreated as three dimensional figures and ceramic teapots, package designs for "animal cracker-style" biscuits in the shapes of rival politicians,  and many versions of his most famous political character, Z`e Povinho, a Portuguese poor peasant, symbolizing the put-upon "everyman" of Portugal.

Enjoy the online version of the museum.

I also found a treasure trove of his scanned political cartoons (Google Translate is your friend.)

Photos: Bob Knetzger