Art Lovers’ Lisbon: Three Museums Not to be Missed
Friday - March 15, 2024
Corte Madera Store
Tour guides and guide books direct you to a predictable menu of sites: St. George Castle, Fado in the Alfama, Belem Tower and San Jeronimos Monastery, as well as the ubiquitous pastries on offer next door, and perhaps including a harrowing trip on the elevator to the upper town.
But wait! You have missed the three most important spots in Lisbon:
- The Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, one of the finest museums in Europe. It is encyclopedic, housing top quality works from Egypt to the early 20th century. Sculpture, paintings, tapestries, porcelains and jewelry. You will meet Ghirlandaio, Rubens, Manet, Monet and other masters.
- The National Museum of Antique Art - NAMA - which houses not Ancient Art as we perceive it but art from the far flung places of the age of Exploration, as well as an outstanding collection of Portuguese and European Art from 1500 to 1700. Ask to see the Namban screens from Japan, the salt cellar from West Africa and the sensational St. Vincent panels. Enjoy the garden and cafe of this 17th century Palace.
- The Museu Nacional do Azulejo is housed in the monastery of Madre de Deus, the building alone worth a visit. Study the history and culture of Portugal from tiles borrowing Arab decorations to tiles decorating modern buildings. A workshop demonstrates the art of creating these "polished stones," a decoration unique to Portugal!
Kerrin Meis taught art history at SFSU for ten years and has led study tours in Europe. Her Book Passage classes have been favorites for years.