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Sonia Delaunay

Her art is remarkable, especially the first period of her work with this kind of cubism, it is even more astonishing if you keep in mind that this was painted before the art of Mondrian.

Born in 1885 in Ukraine, Sophia (her first name) will spend her childhood in St. Petersburg then in Germany with her uncle. She studied art and drawing in Karlsruhe in Germany until 1905. At this time she decided to move on to Paris.

In Paris she studied art at the Académie de La Palette and spent a lot of time in art galleries. Her work was influenced by the Fauve movement and the Post-impressionist of Henri Rousseau or Van Gogh. After a first marriage of convenience to escape, she returned to Russia with a gallerist. Late on  she would meet Robert Delaunay. They got married in 1910 and together they became a very prolific artistic couple.

The work of Sonia Delaunay is called by Apollinaire “Orphism”, this style seem to be only used for the Work of Sonia Delaunay because Apollinaire himself did not really know what this term covers. It’s a style close to cubism, with a lot of colours and geometric forms. . Her work is not limited to painting, but also clothes, fabric, poetry, advertising, lights, and she even painted a car at the end of her career during the modern part of her work.

Sonia and Robert Delaunay also spent some years in Portugal, they shared a house with Samuel Halpert , Eduardo Viana and Amardeo de Sousa-Cardoso. From these years, resulted an artistic partnership which also included José de Almada Negreiros. During this time in Portugal she painted Marché au Minho in 1916, inspired by the beauty of the country. Once she was back in Paris she was one of the first to really show the influence of painting on fashion, she designed a lot of costumes, clothes, and she added her painting on the dress and clothes.

She was so prolific that we still do not know exactly about all of her work. She is also the first living female artist to have a retrospective exhibition at the Louvre in 1964. She died in 1979 at the age of 94.

Text written in March 2019.

Short bio of the volunteer:

Léo Cherel, a volunteer from France.


Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the programme acts, hence contributing for a diverse and rich Europe.

Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.

In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3 (KA3) which is for the support of reformation policies.

European Voluntary Service

Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.

We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.

Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.