Skip to main content

Azulejos as Decorative Art

Altarpiece of our Lady of Life. c1580
This altarpiece was partially destroyed during the 1755 earthquake. It is composed of 1,498 tiles in a multitude of hues. The top section with missing pieces is the Annunciation. The Adoration panel in the center is flanked by the images of St. Luke on the left and St. John on the right. The arrangement of this altarpiece resembles that of a retablo. It is attributed to Marçal de Matos, one of the masters of Portuguese azulejo painting.

Franciscan scenes, Manueline Hall
Tiles were introduced to Portugal from Southern Spain by King Manuel I after his visit to Seville in 1503. The Portuguese imported tiles until the 17th century when they started to produce their own. Churches, palaces, houses were decorated with blue tiles. A fine example of these adorn the walls of the Manueline Hall in the Madre de Deus, the church within the Museu Nacional do Azulejo. This tile composition depicting St. Francis with the crucified Christ and angels came from the Convent of St. Anne and is attributed to Manuel dos Santos who is considered one of the masters of the Cycle of the Masters (1690-1725), the Portuguese golden age in azulejo painting. 

Monumental Silhar for a Staircase. c1640
Yellow glaze was mixed with blue glaze to create the Monumental Silhar. The tile motifs on the Silhar above deviate from the traditional Arabic floral and geometric patterns to include human and animal figures.

Dutch tiles. c1700
The smaller tiles in the center of the panel are Dutch in origin and are bordered by Portuguese tiles in brown glaze. 

Apartments in Lisbon 
It is common to find buildings in Portugal that are ornamented with tiles. Here are some examples of apartments in the Bairro Alto whose façades are coated with tiles.

A Panel from the Panoramic View of Lisbon before the 1755 Earthquake
This panel showing the Castelo de São Jorge in the background is only a small section of this 23 meter long (77ft.) panoramic view of Lisbon. Completed in the 18th century, it is the work of Spanish tile painter, Gabriel del Barco and was created for the former palace of the Counts of Tentúgal. 
Small Altar by Hein Semke
Hein Semke was a German sculptor and painter who lived in Portugal where he created ceramic art compositions such as the Small Altar above. Teresa Balté recently gifted the museum with two hundred of Semke's works which are now on permanent display at the museum. The Small Altar is made in red clay with polychrome glaze.

Azulejos continue to evolve securing its place in ornamental design.

The Museu Nacional do Azulejo is on 4 Rua da Madre de Dios. Please check their website for opening hours and admission fee: The museum is a long uphill walk from the Santa Apolonia metro station. Best to take a taxi if you're not up to it or take the bus. 


Images by TravelswithCharie


Popular posts from this blog

Adare, Ireland's Prettiest Village

Thatched-roof cottages
Twenty minutes south of Limerick City on the River Maigue is Ireland's prettiest village, Adare. It's a small town, pleasantly quiet even in mid July, at the height of the tourist season. There was a celebrity classic golf tournament going on at the exclusive Adare Manor Golf Course during my visit. But thankfully, this did not bring in the crowds.

Augustinian Priory
It's an easy stroll from the Augustinian Priory to Bill Chawke's Lounge Bar on the opposite end of town.  Centuries old thatched roof cottages, medieval monasteries, vine covered townhouses, the Adare Town Park and the quintessential Irish pubs line Main Street. There's no need to rush. All these places invite visitors to linger and savor the moment.

At Bill Chawke's the kegs are full and ready to be served. But before saying your first "sláinte!" (to your health), consider walking the extra mile or so to the ruins of Desmond Castle, north of Adare Manor. It dates bac…

Bargain Shopping in Greenhills, Metro Manila

At Greenhills indoor flea market, you will find santos (religious statues), costume jewelry, authentic South Seas pearls, clothes, shoes, knock off branded handbags, Oriental furnishings, Christmas decorations, paintings, souvenirs and linens. There are stalls upon stalls of goods and you walk down narrow aisles teeming with shoppers who are at this moment doing their Christmas shopping.

I was particulary interested in new costume jewelry trends and there are a variety of stones and glass beads on display. The latest is a headband made of shiny glass beads, a unique party accessory. I was pleased to find wood carvings and paintings at much more reasonable prices than elsewhere in the city, except in Divisoria which I have yet to check out.

Weekends and holidays are the worst times to come though you can shop their night market during the holidays. Crowds notwithstanding, I plan to spend more time shopping for home furnishings at Greenhills after the holidays.

* * *

Photos by Charie

Carlos "Botong" Francisco, A Nation Imagined

Carlos "Botong" Francisco, FILIPINO STRUGGLES THROUGH HISTORY Oil on canvas, 1964, (located at ManilaCity Hall) A National Cultural Treasure owned by the City of Manila
Carlos Botong Francisco: A Nation Imagined is the latest art installation at the AyalaMuseum in Makati to celebrate the 100th birthday anniversary of Carlos “Botong” Francisco (1912-1969), a Philippine National Artist. Forty paintings and lithographs were culled from various private collections to form this exhibition. Of the large scale paintings on display, Maria Makiling and Fiesta, both oil on canvas, are representative of the indigenous genre which Botong loved to portray. In Maria Makiling, Botong reveals a relaxed and recumbent woman with her legs dangling in the cool waters of the stream and playing with an exotic deer by her side. Fiesta is about how the Filipino people gather to celebrate an important occasion, be that a religious feast or a wedding. The central figures are dancing the tinikling, a po…