Gothic, Emmanuel style


Already Alfonso I was called into the country next to the Templars, the Cistercians in the focused development of church structures. These were of particular importance in the spread of their specific Cistercian architectural style in Portugal, based on the model of the mother monastery Clairvaux (Monastery Real Abadia de Santa Maria in Alcobaça, 1148 ff.). The victory over the Castilians at Aljubarrota (1385) prompted John I to found the monastery of Santa Maria da Vitória in Batalha(1388 ff.), With its construction, carried out among other things according to the plan Afonso Domingues († 1402), a new national one Art tradition was established: The building shows the development from the high Gothic to the fully developed Emanuel style.

Further highlights of the Emanuel style are the monumental Jeronimos Monastery (from 1496) based on the design by D. Boytac in Belém and the nearby bulwark »Torre de Belém« (1515–21). At the same time, J. de Castilho at the Knights of Christ Monastery in Tomar performed accomplished works in the Manueline style (entrance portal and window of the chapter house). The emblem of Emanuel I was the armillary sphere, which subsequently adorned buildings together with the knots carved in stone, the “laço de amor” (loops of love), in the sense of the Neoplatonists on the mainland and overseas. In Sintra, Emanuel I. expand the royal palace and for the first time extensively decorate it with tiles from Seville (including the first ceramic depictions of corn on the cob in Europe); after the floor tiles of the Cistercians, the beginning of the tile culture in Portugal took place here.


In addition to building sculptures, a lively sculptural activity developed, especially in Lisbon and Coimbra, with antependies, reredos and especially tombs: Tomb of Urraca (around 1220; Alcobaça Monastery), Tomb of Isabel de Aragão (around 1335; Coimbra, Santa Clara Monastery -a-Nova), sarcophagi in the flamboyant style of King Peter I and Inês de Castro in the transept of the monastery church of Alcobaça. The French sculptor N. Chantereine , who worked in Portugal from 1517–51, continued this tradition with the tombs of the kings Alfons I, Heinrich and Sancho I. (1185–1211) continued in the choir of the Santa Cruz monastery church in Coimbra; from him comes, among other things, the one for Johann III. designed alabaster altar in Sintra (1529–32; Palácio da Pena). With the participation of foreign artists such as J. de Rouão and the Castilho brothers , a school of sculptors developed in Coimbra that shaped the style of Portuguese art until the founding of the classical renaissance.

The granting of the privilege of jurisdiction to many communities by Emanuel I produced a particularly large number of pelourinhos (pillory pillars) decorated in the Emanuel style. Gold and silversmiths in central and northern Portugal, which were under foreign influence, initially mainly produced liturgical implements for the monasteries. The Custodia de Belém by G. Vicente is a masterpiece of the traditional casting technique with Plateresque forging (1506; now Lisbon, Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga). In contrast to the Moorish-influenced pieces from Spain, the Portuguese goldsmiths were inspired by motifs taken from Indian art (water basin with figurative representations; some of them in Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum). The round three-dimensional ivory carving also flourished.


Hardly anything has survived from the Gothic wall painting. Panel painting has been emerging since the second half of the 15th century and shows a clear dependence on Dutch painting (promoted, among other things, by a lively artist exchange; J. van Eyck’s stay in Portugal, 1428/29). One of the first known and at the same time most important painters between 1450 and 1471 is N. Gonçalves (among other things “Vincent Altar”, around 1465; Lisbon, Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga). Under Emanuel I “oficinas” (artist communities) were formed with centers in Lisbon around the court painters J. Afonso , G. Lopes and C. de Figueiredo , in Viseu around V. Fernandes , in Évora around F. Henriques and in Coimbra around theMestre do Sardoal. António de Holanda (* around 1480, † 1557), probably from the Netherlands, stands out among the book and miniature painters.

Megalithic culture, antiquity, early Middle Ages and Romanesque

According to globalsciencellc, the numerous megalithic tombs (including Anta do Zambujeiro) are among the most impressive archaeological evidence of Portugal. Sites of discovery from Roman times are Évora (temple with 14 preserved Corinthian columns; 2nd / 3rd century) and Conimbriga near Coimbra, which was destroyed by the Swebes in 468 and only partially uncovered today, with remains of villas, thermal baths, mosaics (including in the Casa dos Repuxos). Only a few smaller oratorios from the pre-Romanesque-Visigothic period have survived (including Santo Amaro in Beja, around 600; São Pedro de Balsemão in Lamego, 7th century; São Frutuoso de Montélios near Braga, after 660) with Romanesque-Byzantine capitals.

With Alfonso I from the House of Burgundy, the history of medieval Portuguese architecture begins from the north during the time of the Reconquista. It shows less Moorish influence than Spanish art and shows a strong relationship with southern France in the sacred buildings (São Martinho de Cedofeita in Porto and São Salvador in Travanca, with magnificent Romanesque sculptural decorations; both 12th century). The castle-like, crenellated cathedrals in Braga, Coimbra, Lisbon and Évora, built between 1140 and 1190, with some of the later chapel wreaths and ambulatory, adopt the layout of French pilgrim churches. Presumably Santiago de Compostela served as a model.

The Romanesque-early Gothic Charola of the Templar monastery (from 1160) in Tomar occupies a special position (also the only surviving example of the three former commanderies of Paris, London and Tomar). Of the secular and military architecture, the fortresses of Guimarães (10th – 12th centuries), Leiria and Bragança (12th / 13th centuries) as well as the Domus Municipalis (town hall) built over a cistern in Bragança are worth mentioning. The building sculpture shows Mozarabic influence, the sculpture is strongly influenced by Spanish and French models. Little has survived from the wall painting of this period, but the surviving illuminated manuscripts (including the Bible Vetus Testamentum, 1151–1200, Porto, city library; Codex of San Marned de Lorvão, 1189, Lisbon, Torre de Tombo National Archives) testify to high skill.

Portuguese Arts