Lisbon have highly ranked museums with Ancient treasures, masterpieces by the masters, and some singular and offbeat collections
As expected in a great European capital, Lisbon has a wealth of excellent museums, from the world-class Calouste Gulbenkian Museum to the outstanding Ancient Art Museum, and the more recent and acclaimed Design Museum.
Calouste Gulbenkian Museum
Houdon's bronze 'Apollo' at the Gulbenkian Museum Northeast of Eduardo VII Park is the Gulbenkian Museum, one of the world's great museums and one of Europe's unsung treasures. Part of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, it houses a magnificent collection of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Islamic, Asian, and European art. It was substantially renovated and modernized in 2001 (many of its masterpieces were on display in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art during renovation), and can't be missed during a visit to Lisbon. This is one of the world's finest private art collections, amassed over a period of 40 years by oil magnate Calouste Gulbenkian, who was one of the 20th century's wealthiest men. In his later years he adopted Portugal as his home, and donated all of his stupendous art treasures to the country when he died in 1955 at the age of 86.
Avenida de Berna, 45A
Maritime Museum The interesting Maritime Museum is one of the most important in Europe, evoking Portugal's domination of the seas. Its colossal 17,000 items are installed in the west wing of Jeronimos Monastery, and include model ships from the Age of Discovery onward. The oldest exhibit is a wooden figure representing the Archangel Raphael that accompanied Vasco da Gama on his voyage to India.
Other highlights are two 18th century ceremonial barges (one of them built for Queen Maria I that remained operational for almost two hundred years, Ceremonial barge in the Maritime Museum transporting famous passengers such as Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and Queen Elizabeth II of England), a 19th century royal cabin from the yacht of Queen Amelia, the seaplane "Santa Cruz" that made the first crossing of the south Atlantic in 1922, the world's largest collection of astrolabes, and replicas of 16th century maps showing the world as it was known then.
Praca do Imperio
Archeology Museum Located in the west wing of Jeronimos Monastry, the Archaeology Museum houses Portugal's main archeological exhibits from sites all over the country. It includes Iron Age and Visigothic jewelry, Roman ornaments and mosaics, early 8th century Moorish artifacts, and a Greco-Roman and Egyptian section strong on funerary art. In the treasury is a rich collection of archaic goldwork from excavation sites throughout Portugal featuring some magnificently worked bracelets, Celtic earrings, and rings.
Praca do Imperio
Berardo Museum The Berardo Museum has one of the world's most acclaimed modern art collections, with works by Warhol, Picasso, Dali, Duchamp, Magritte, Miró, Bacon, Jackson Pollock, Jeff Koons, among others representing dozens of modern movements. It was amassed by Portuguese magnate Joe Berardo, who for many years had wanted to create a museum for his vast collection. Cities like Paris and Miami were interested in buying it, but the Portuguese government made sure it was kept in Lisbon and agreed to provide space inside Lisbon's Belem Cultural Center.
Praca do Imperio
Ancient Art Museum
Ancient Art MuseumTram 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.
Rua das Janelas Verdes
Design and Fashion Museum
Design Museum Lisbon's exceptional Design Museum is one of the world's leading museums of 20th century design and several critics see its collection as the best in Europe. It opened in 1999 in the Belem Cultural Center and closed in August 2006 only to reopen in a new space in 2009.
It was renamed the Design and Fashion Museum or simply MuDe (which also means "change" in Portuguese), and now also includes Portuguese businessman Francisco Capelo's fashion collection made up of 1200 couture pieces, including a famous Jean Desses gown that Renee Zellweger wore to the 2001 Oscars and Christian Dior's landmark 1947 New Look.
Rua Augusta, 24
Decorative Arts Museum
Decorative Arts Museum Situated in a corner of Miradouro das Portas do Sol in the 17th century Azurara Palace, this brilliant museum gives a picture of aristocratic life in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The building was bought by Ricardo Espirito Santo, a wealthy banker who later bequeathed his valuable collection to the state. On display is magnificent Indo-Portuguese furniture, a priceless collection of silver and Chinese porcelain, and several Flemish tapestries from the 16th and 18th centuries.
Largo das Portas do Sol, 2
Medeiros e Almeida Museum
Medeiros e Almeida Museum One of Lisbon's most outstanding but little-known museums, the former residence of Antonio Medeiros e Almeida houses a priceless collection of 17th to 20th-century fine arts. Displayed in 25 rooms, it ranges from porcelain and furniture, to silverware, paintings by artists such as George Romney and Thomas Gainsborough, and sculptures.
One of the highlights is furniture by François Linke, one of the most celebrated furniture makers of the 19th century, with the most noteworthy pieces being a long case clock in rosewood and glass marble, and a Louis XIV-style cabinet with strong art nouveau influences. In the Silver Room is a dinner service that once belonged to Napoleon Bonaparte, the Lake Room contains marble and gilded bronze wall fountains from the Palace of Versailles, and the Porcelain Room displays priceless and rare pieces from the Han and Qing dynasties.
Rua Rosa Araujo, 41
The Modern Art Center
Gulbenkian Modern Art Center's garden's amphitheatre A white building by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation headquarters and Calouste Gulbenkian Museum houses contemporary and modern Portuguese art as well as an important collection of 20th century British art. Officially named Centro de Arte Moderna Jose de Azeredo Perdigão, it displays works by Amadeo Souza Cardoso, Almada Negreiros, and Paula Rego, Portugal's best known contemporary artist. There are also works by British artists such as David Hockney, Anthony Gormley, and Bill Woodrow, and a Henry Moore sculpture in the garden.
The exhibits include drawing, painting, sculpture, and installation. A joint ticket may be purchased for the neighboring Calouste Gulbenkian Museum and a stop in the excellent and popular café-restaurant is a good idea between the two museums.
Rua Dr. Nicolau de Bettencourt
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