"In adding little stain after little stain, laboriously, like a bee, the picture makes itself. A picture should have its heart, its nervous system, its bones and its circulation. It should resemble a person in its movements" (Vieira da Silva, quoted in G. Wheelen, J-F. Jaeger, Viera da Silva, Geneva, 1993, p. 91).
Peinture (Painting) opens itself before the viewer, the accumulation of small horizontal and vertical lines forming the patchwork of a cityscape. Vieira da Silva's technique of painting 'like a bee' imbues this work with great energy and movement. The diagonal lines in the centre and at the bottom right add a feeling of depth, guiding the viewer's eyes back and forth across the canvas. The grey and black patchwork is a continuation of the long tradition of architectural drawing and painting, but Vieira da Silva has exploded the limitations of meticulous draftsmanship by exploding all the strict structural lines. The small dashes of paint appear like a fragmented architectural plan but the application of yellow in many parts of the picture tell of the warmth of humanity, be it in the streetlights or the warmth of peoples' homes.
Vieira da Silva, a former student of Fernand Léger, executed Peinture while the debate between abstraction and figuration raged on in the artistic community. She combined both forms of expression with her highly individual appreciation of perspective, fostered in large part by the azulejos - floor and wall tiles - in her native Portugal. This, combined with an interest in scenography, led to her portrayals of space, themselves expressions of life. The scenes she creates are the stage on which life is lived. The urban texture of Peinture reflects the age in which it was painted. Vieira da Silva believed strongly that every person is a product of their age and society. In her art, she sought to express her age and herself. As she said in 1955, the year after Peinture was painted, 'The picture is not an escape, it should be a friend who talks to you, who uncovers the riches in you and around you". (Vieira da Silva, quoted in Wheelen & Jaeger, op. cit., p. 92).
"They talk to us about reality. Everything astonishes me, I paint my astonishment which is wonder, terror and laughter all at once" (Vieira da Silva, quoted in Wheelen & Jaeger, op. cit., p. 91).