A place worth visiting in Lisbon – Museu Nacional do Azulejo

by alrou on October 16, 2011

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:

Tile panel with the coat of arms of Dom Jaime de Bragança, Seville circa 1510

St. Joachim and his wife, Saint Anne, elderly father and mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Grandparents of Jesus Christ

Figurative Panel “The Holy Family”, 17th CenturyAlbarrada vase with cherubins and parrots, Lisbon circa 1675

Section of the 36 meter long panel with a panoramic view of Lisbon, before the earthquake of 1755

Moulded earthenware painted in polychrome by Manuel Cargaleiro - 2006

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.

 Other related post: Azulejos – Portuguese Ceramic Tiles

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