A Subtle Homage: it’s said by the local historian, Rui Carita, that this sculpture was produced in a subtle homage to the banker, industrialist, philanthropist and important patron of the arts in Funchal, Henrique Augusto Vieira de Castro (1869-1926); in this perspective, it also symbolizes the importance of the patronage of the arts.
The Symbol of the Sower: the figure of the sower reflects the artist’s heritage and birthplace, as Madeira Island is deeply marked by agricultural practices; it acts not only as a symbol of the island, but also of perseverance, strength, dedication, and the positive results that always result from a strenuous hard work;
Metaphorical Sowing: the sower “sows” and “reaps” his results, metaphorically the statue claims that we all have the ability to create our own life, cultivating today what we can reap tomorrow.
The Emotion of Patriotism: since it reflects a fundamental practice of the island, it aims to resonate with the fellow countrymen of the island and generate feelings of honor, integrity, devotion, nationalism and patriotism;
Expressionism and the Human Figure: like Rodin, Franco expressed corporeality and movement through rougher, more unfinished surfaces.
Aesthetic and Plastic Evolution: plastic, expressive and impressionist representation of the surface.
Synthesis of Influences: graceful rendition of several Parisian artistic styles (romanticism, expressionism, realism, impressionism).
Rodin’s Influence: major influence of the impressionist realism of Rodin’s work, very clear in this sculpture in the way the form is manipulated and handled; the human body for Rodin is contorted and in movement, two qualities Franco aimed to also reflect.
Naturalism: realism and naturalism of the figure, very distinctive of his early works, heavily influenced by Rodin. The French artist shaped a new era of sculpture, where the realism came from the subject, the working class – men and women performing daily tasks – while conveying an heroic sense to it. This comes across, very distinctively in the Sower.
Expressive lyricism and movement: caught in motion, movement emanates from the anatomic sculpted figure; this lyricism aims to engage the viewer.
Foreign Influences: Franco applies all of his new knowledge and French artistic influences in this work, bringing with him, a new age to Portuguese art.
Turning Point: the sculpture propelled the artist’s popularity, and greatly influenced the fellow Portuguese artists; with it a changing artistic environment emerged, at the beginning of the 20th century.