Grão Vasco National Museum
The museum includes a collection of works of art of different types and periods.
The museum’s main collection features a remarkable set of retable paintings from the city’s Cathedral, local churches and other museums, attributed to Vasco Fernandes (c. 1475-1542), known as Grão Vasco, and his collaborators and contemporaries. Also on display are exhibits of liturgical practices (paintings, sculpture, gold and silverware, ivory) dating from Romanesque to the Baroque period from the cathedral and local churches; archaeological specimens, an important collection of 19th and 20th century Portuguese paintings, Portuguese faience, oriental porcelain and furniture.
Construction of the Palace known as Paço dos Três Escalões, which began on 6 July 1593 on the site of the bishop’s palace, was due to the need to raise a seminar or a college for training the clergy. Even though the author is unknown, the palace is said to have been built by someone of Castilian origin, who would have also drawn the Cathedral’s façade, later to be commissioned from a Salamanca architect.
The imposing granite building, the last story of which was added in the 18th century, boasts a unique relationship between sobriety and monumentality. This is particularly evident on its North façade on which the scenographic effect reflects the city of Viseu. The intervention project the building went through between 2001 and 2003, by architect Eduardo Souto Moura, freed its interior from a number of disfeatured elements, while also adjusting it to the demands of a new museum programme.
Source: DGPC (www.patrimoniocultural.pt)