New Exhibition Shows How Lisbon Started Globalization

Encompassing the Globe exhibition, LisbonTwo years ago, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC put together a special exhibition called “Encompassing the Globe: Portugal and the World in the 16th and 17th Centuries.” It explained “how Portugal brought the world together” during the Age of Discovery and its pioneering role in global trade. The items displayed were loaned from museums around the world, and included maps, sculptures, and paintings. It then traveled to Brussels, and will now also be shown in Lisbon starting July 15th. It stays in the city until October 11th, and its home is the Ancient Art Museum, where you can also see some additional Portuguese treasures not shown in the previous exhibitions. It’s being called Lisbon’s most important exhibition in 2009, with a total of 180 pieces from 95 foreign collections, including those of the Louvre in Paris, Viena’s Albertina, Berlin’s Staatliche Museen, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Library. The additional Portuguese works are those that are not allowed to ever leave the country, including Japanese screens showing the Portuguese arriving in Japan, and the Monstrance of Belem adorned with priceless gems.
More than explaining Portugal’s role in the first global empire, this exhibition also shows the influences of European culture around the world and vice versa due to commercial, cultural, and scientific exchanges. Debates and special gastronomic events are also being planned, with everything costing around three million euros, a price worth paying for such a rich exhibition which will bring improvements to the Ancient Art Museum in the future.

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