Culture - Lisbon - Travel | Monocle


Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, Avenidas Novas 

“One museum, two collections.” That’s the direction in which UK director António Pimentel has taken the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian. The museum’s two arms have functioned as separately as they appear physically: Calouste Gulbenkian museum opened at one end of the flower-filled garden in 1969; the Modern Art Centre (CAM) at the other end in 1983.

The Calouste Gulbenkian Museum was accumulated by Armenian oil magnate Calouste Gulbenkian, who was advised by Howard Carter, the man who discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun. It contains some 6,000 pieces that stretch from 2600BC to the 20th century, from colourful mosque lamps and Iznik pottery to French furniture and illuminated manuscripts. 

The continually growing Modern Collection, found in the Modern Art Centre, which has been pieced together by the foundation, tells the story of Portuguese art in the 20th century. It’s also continually rotating – of the 11,000 works in the collection, 500 are on display at any given time. A series of “Conversations” results in works shifting between the two collections. The upshot? A melange of objects that blur geographical and temporal boundaries.

45A Avenida de Berna, 1067-001 
+351 21 782 3000

Museu Nacional do Azulejo, São João

This bright and airy museum, a short taxi ride from the city centre, charts the development of Portuguese tiles from the 16th century to the present day. The building – a former convent from 1509 – is as beautiful as the azulejos within. On the ground floor is the baroque igreja (church), a riot of colour with vibrant paintings of saints and blue-and-white tiles displaying bucolic pastoral scenes. And don’t miss the glass-roofed cloister, surrounded by two tiers of columns and arches.

4 Rua da Madre de Deus, 1900-312 
+351 21 810 0340

Mude, Baixa 

The centrally located Museu do Design e da Moda, known as Mude (Portuguese for “change”), is at the forefront of the cultural revolution in Lisbon. The third floor hosts the permanent collection donated by private collector Francisco Capelo, while the open-plan second, fourth and fifth floors – as well as the underground vault – are dedicated to temporary exhibitions and events. The overarching aim? To explore the links between fashion and design, as well as their relationship with technology, the environment and the economy.

24 Rua Augusta, 1100-053 
+351 21 817 1892

Images: Pedro Guimarães

Go back: Lisbon


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