According to the dictionary ‘saudade’ means a nostalgic and gentle rememberance of people or things that are distant, or of past events. Being something one can feel rather than see or touch saudade is not something easy to define, it can’t be immediately translated to English or other language. Even though, Almeida Jr, a brilliant Brazilian painter has defined it very accurately in the famous painting bellow: ‘Saudade’.
José Ferraz de Almeida Júnior (8 May 1850 – 13 November 1899) was a Brazilian painter of the 19th century. He is widely regarded as the most important Brazilian realist painter of the 19th century, and a major inspiration for the modernist painters. While most Brazilian academic artists made their fame painting mythological or historical subjects, Almeida Junior would become popular for painting rural figures, especially farmers and the caipira violeiro , the countrymen that are a kind of a symbol of the rural areas of the São Paulo state.
You can learn more on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos%C3%A9_Ferraz_de_Almeida_J%C3%BAnior . If you happen to be in São Paulo, you must visit Pinacoteca, where this and other of his paintings are exhibited. It is very close to ‘Luz’ tube station where you can also find ‘Museu da Língua Portuguesa’ (The Portuguese Language Museum).
Take a look at the site http://www.pinacoteca.org.br/pinacoteca/
Other painting that reminds me a lot about ‘Saudade’ was sent to me by Professor Amos Paran and is called New York Movie, by Edward Hopper.
You can find more information on Edward Hopper on http://www.edwardhopper.net/newyork-movie.jsp. It is impressive how in both paintings the same feeling of ‘saudade’ can be expressed without words.