Et in arcadia ago
Vincentas Seneckis (1868 – unknown) was born in Vilnius, then part of the Russian Empire. He studied Architecture in Riga Polytechnicum and worked in London as a landscape architect from 1893 to 1904. Influenced by the intellectual Barallat, whom he met at the turn of the century, Seneckis wrote the book “Et in Arcadia Ego: on the relation between landscape and the mind”, that earned some recognition. In the British capital, Seneckis met a Portuguese translator, Maria Júlia de Cardoso Mendes de Campos, the only daughter of the 4th Baron of Candal. Vincentas and Maria Júlia married in 1904 and lived in the North of Portugal – between Porto and the São Cosme e Damião coastline forest – until 1911, the year of the tragic and mysterious murder of Maria Júlia, a wrongful victim of a gunshot intended for the baron. After the death of Maria Júlia, it is said that Seneckis, in the couple’s favourite place on the coastline, designed and built all on his own a mausoleum where he buried his wife. Today, this “cemetery of the Lithuanian”, as it is known locally, is considered a funerary architecture reference in Portugal for its intricate relation with the landscape. Seneckis went back to Vilnius around 1913. He stayed there for two years until the German army occupied the city. Around this time, he tried to go back to Portugal. However, there is no evidence that he ever arrived there – it is speculated that he made it to the United States, where he dreamt of going in his youth.
Eglė Bazaraitė is a PhD candidate in architecture, in Lisbon University (UL-IST), where she is completing her research on Catholic cemeteries in Europe and their pagan dimension. www.eglebazaraite.net
Eduardo Brito works in cinema and photography. Recent works include the short film Penúmbria (2016), the screenplays for Paulo Abreu’s film The Scoundrel (2012) and Manuel Mozos’ The Glory of Filmmaking in Portugal (2015). www.eduardobrito.pt
Eduardo Brito and Eglė Bazaraitė reconstructed a story of Vincentas Seneckis using facts each of them knew about this persona. Et In Arcadia Ego is a docu-fiction that leads the mind through the landscape of one person’s life, tied and torn apart from Lithuania.