ANCIENT ART MUSEUM
Portugal's national gallery
Tram 25 passes through the district
of Lapa, stopping by Rua das Janelas Verdes, home of the Ancient Art Museum
(just a short walk down the street from the tram stop).
It contains 14th to 20th century European works by artists such as Bosch
(whose "Temptation of St. Anthony" is one of the museum's most valuable
treasures), Dürer, and Raphael.
The most important of the Portuguese paintings is undoubtedly the "Veneration of St. Vincent," regarded as an important historical document, portraying some prominent 15th century personalities such as Henry the Navigator.
Also interesting are 16th century Japanese screens showing the Portuguese arriving in Japan. For the Japanese it was their first contact with Europeans and their fascination by the Portuguese is seen in the particular emphasis given to the Portuguese's mustaches, unoriental size of their noses, and buttons, which were unheard of in Japan. Also from this era are Afro-Portuguese carved tusks, Indo-Portuguese chests, and samples of Chinese porcelain shipped to Lisbon. The theme of the discoveries is ever-present, illustrating Portugal's links with Africa, India, China and Japan.
Not to be missed is also a fine collection of decorative art and silverware, including the Monstrance of Belem, which was made from the first shipment of gold brought home by Vasco da Gama, and the collection of French 18th century silverware, especially the pieces by François Thomas Germain, one of the finest in the world, that once belonged to the Portuguese royal family.
Get FREE admission to the museum and ride Lisbon's metro and buses for free with the Lisboa Card.
How to Visit
Basilica da Estrela -
Pretty domed basilica.
Estrela Gardens - Pleasant park with exotic plants.
São Bento Palace - The country's Neoclassical parliament.
Marionette Museum - Lovely collection of puppets from around the world.