Archive for June, 2007

Lisbon’s new modern art collection: The Berardo Museum opens its doors

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

Berardo Museum inauguration fireworks Paintings by artists such as Picasso, Warhol, Miró, Magritte, and Lichtenstein, along with photography, sculptures, and installations now cover 8000 square meters of Belem Cultural Center (CCB) that have been transformed into the Berardo Museum of Modern and Centemporary Art.
They were open to the public last night for the first time, in a festive atmosphere that included a fireworks show (see the picture above).

The layout of the exhibition space was well thought-out, divided into seven thematic sections: “Re-take” (photography), “The Power of Color,” “New Figures” (where Realism and Expressionism are exemplified through works by Francis Bacon and Paula Rego, among others), “Surrealism and Beyond” (works by René Magritte, Max Ernst, and Dali are the highlights), “Autonomy,” “Pop & Co.” (a popular favorite for the colorful works by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein), and “Minimalisms”.

One of the works that drew the most attention was Picasso’s Femme dans un fauteuil (Métamorphose), incidentally the most valuable piece in the collection (worth 18 million euros according to Christie’s). Another favorite on inauguration day was Andy Warhol’s Ten Foot Flowers, this one also one of the most valuable and emblematic of the museum (worth 12 million euros), on display at the “Pop & Co.” section. Another unmistakably Warhol painting, Portrait of Judy Garland, stands next to it, and is yet another emblematic piece of the museum (see it at GoLisbon’s Berardo Museum page).

Paitings at the Berardo Museum These are just a few examples of what those who enjoy art can expect at the Berardo Museum (that estimates 400,000 visitors a year – 12,000 were reported to have gone through the doors on this first day). It didn’t disappoint me, and I’ll surely be back. There are temporary exhibitions already in the works, and since the collection is so huge, not all of it can be displayed at the same time, forcing a continuous rotation of pieces, guaranteeing a return for those who enjoy modern and contemporary art.

The Berardo Museum is now a perfect complement to the Gulbenkian for those visiting Lisbon –- two world-class museums with private collections turned public, offering a historical perspective on the evolution of art from past to present. (For additional information see GoLisbon’s Berardo Museum page.)

Japanese Food in Lisbon

Monday, June 25th, 2007

Just a brief post to recommend a good Japanese restaurant in Lisbon.

Teppanyaki table in Sakura, LisbonLast Saturday, we went to the Restaurante Sakura in Rua José Carlos dos Santos near Entrecampos. This restaurante is certainly not just about sushi, although you can of course have sushi here. The fun thing about being at this restaurant are the teppanyaki tables, where there is a hot plate in the middle of the table and you watch while the Japanese chefs prepare and grill your food.

Apart from the occasional use of a sharp knife, almost all the food is prepared using just 2 simple spatulas. These implements are skillfully managed by the chef to cut, chop and serve the different types of food being prepared on the grill. Especially interesting is the way they prepare and cut an omelette which is later added to boiled rice.

From time to time, the chefs also spray oil on the food and light it, flames leaping up into the air (see picture) as they quickly move out of the way to the enjoyment of the nearby diners.

We ordered 2 complete menus at 25 euros each. This menu consists of several dishes: soup, grilled prawns, chicken, rice, meat, vegetables, all grilled and prepared right in front of you, and there was sufficient to share with my girlfriend’s 2 kids. For desert I ordered a green tea ice-cream.

Restaurante Saukura,
Rua José C Santos 18 Lisboa
1700-257 LISBOA
Tel: 217 931 303

Thanks to De blogar por mais! for the photo.

Carmo’s Unexpected Sights

Friday, June 15th, 2007

Carmo Church portal/entrance The skeleton that is Carmo Church has a much stronger impact on visitors than if the entire building was still standing. These gothic ruins provoke a series of mixed feelings, as they are a relic of the tragic Great Earthquake of 1755, yet there is a certain peace as you walk around its pillars.
Most interesting of all is the way the arches were left standing in equal shape and measure. They all stand congruently and symmetrically as if the church was actually originally designed as a ruin. The roof collapsed but Lisbon’s blue sky is an even better “cover.” That is, it all seems to have always been meant to be this way…
But another curiosity is found behind what used to be the altar. It is an eclectic museum with bits and pieces of archaeological finds, from ancient swords to shrunken Native American mummies! — quite an unexpected collection in an unusual place.

All this makes Carmo the most interesting church in Lisbon. While the church in Jeronimos Monastery may cause the biggest awe, São Roque Church may have the most valuable decoration, and Basilica da Estrela may have the prettiest façade, Carmo’s sight prevails longer in the memory.

Santa Justa Elevator's top platform And the square in front of it (“Largo do Carmo”) is my favorite in the city. It is not huge or as monumental as Comercio Square or Rossio, but its benches under the shade of the trees are my favorites to sit and read.

On the right side of the church is a gate that reveals yet other unexpected sight – all of Lisbon’s downtown, the castle, and the river. This is the entrance to the top platform of Santa Justa Elevator, which is yet another Lisbon landmark that doesn’t fail to draw your attention.