Boston

Nuno de Campos

Clifford Smith Gallery

For his first exhibition in the United States, Nuno de Campos presented five intimately scaled tempera paintings (all titled Lap, 1999), each of which pictures the same seated woman from just above her breasts to slightly below the knees. Headless but not truncated, the model appears from panel to panel in a blue floral-print housedress from the ’70s, positioned frontally on a white, padded swivel chair. Shown in various states of animation, the figure expresses an emotional content through the strong arms, work-worn hands, and subtle shifts in body torsion, always with the lap as the compositional and symbolic center of focus.

The fifteen-by-fifteen-inch panels, installed above eye level, reference the icons of Campos’s Roman Catholic heritage. The Portuguese artist’s deliberate and painstaking egg-tempera technique also pays homage to the long tradition of religious panel painting. (He

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