Lisbon is a beautiful city of tiles and a wonderful collection of art. This next post is a 2-4-1 situation.
Calouste Gulbenkian Museum
This museum is comprised of two collections (in two separate buildings). There is the Modern Art Collection and the Founder’s Collection. The buildings are in the brutalist style with amazing gardens around and between them.
The Modern collection features great big exhibition spaces that includes painting, video installations and sculptures. It displays Modern Portuguese art and some by people from Portugal’s former colonies.
This room was very powerful and featured copies of slave auction catalogues from Angola. It was incredible.
The museum also created a timeline of Portugeuse modern art and history on two floors. Paintings from the collection were on the top while ephemera, photographs and other objects were on the floor below. It mirrored really nicely and I learned as much about the social and political history of Portugal as I did the paintings.
The Founder’s Collection was located across the artificial lake where loads of people were sunbathing (in December!). The collection is comprised of everything Gulbenkian liked. I was quite partial to the Art of the Islamic world rooms. Every case was purpose built and it looks marvellous.
The carpets were so fantastic! There were also rooms of Chinese and Japanese porcelain, European art from 1500s onwards and French style furnishings. He was an eclectic collector! There was a whole room devoted to Rene Lalique’s work.
The last room mum and I visited was the Founder’s gallery. It was a lovely overview of the collections and its history. Apparently he was a great fan of Art Deco and helped encourage the design form. This gallery was a lot of fun because of the mixing the curators can do.
The man himself! Gulbenkian created a foundation in his will and they built the museums to house his amazing work and promote Portugal and Portuguese art.
Pros: Amazing collection, excellent displays and interpretation, friendly staff, great shop and cafe, loads of places to sit, lovely gardens, good location
Cons: The gardens were a bit tricky to navigate – we couldn’t find the entrance!, may be tricky for those with mobility issues, not the best for kids