Although Azulejos (ceramic tiles) can be seen profusely in the façades of walls, buildings, subway and trains stations, churches and parks of Lisbon, there is one place which offers a glimpse into the art of the tile fabrication and their origins in Portugal. This place is the Museu Nacional do Azulejo (National Tile Museum), which is considered to be one of the most important museums in Portugal.
The Tile Museum, which is housed inside the magnificent 16th century Convento Madre de Deus (Monastery of the Mother of God ), illustrates the history of the Portuguese Azulejo from the 15th century until the present day. The Museum presents a chronological evolution of the ceramic tiles over the years, including examples of the 15th century Moorish tiles, with arabesque geometric patterns of triangles, squares and diamonds, to modern day azulejos produced by artists like Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro, Raul Lino, Jorge Barradas, Maria Keil, Querubim Lapa, Manuel Cargaleiro, Cecília de Sousa and Eduardo Nery.
Some of the works which can be viewed in the museum are:
Besides the display of an exuberance of tiles and their characteristics associated to the period to which they belong, the National Azulejo Museum is also a center for the study of ceramics, notably for architectural coverings. The key activities include research of the History of Art and Ceramics and the inventorying, conservation and restoration of Azulejo tiles.
The National Tile Museum in Lisbon is opened all days from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm, except for Mondays, in which it is closed.
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