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Machado de Castro National Museum

The wealth of the Church and the importance of royal patronage

The collections of this museum, in Coimbra, showcase the richness of the Church and the importance of royal patronage, both of which account for a large number of works of art and religious objects on display. Noteworthy are the monochrome and polychrome sculptures, in wood and stone, featuring the best Flemish workmanship and the evolution of Portuguese schools from the Middle Ages through to the 18th century. Also worth mentioning are the paintings, gold and silverware, ceramics and textiles, both imported and made in Portugal, the archaeological collections from the city of Coimbra and the oriental art.

The museum opened its doors on 11 October 1913 on premises that had been built between the 12th and 18th century to accommodate the bishops of Coimbra and that were converted into a museum. Outstanding in this museum are vestiges of a cloister from the “condal” period (c. 1100-c. 1140) and a 1st century cryptoporticus that is considered the most remarkable surviving Roman construction in Portugal. 

The museum is named after the Coimbra artist who worked as a royal sculptor during the reigns of D.

José, D. Maria I and D. João VI. He was the most remarkable exponent of 18th- century sculpture in Portugal.  

Having completely reopened at the end of 2012 – following a project of rehabilitation and expansion by the architect Gonçalo Byrne –, the museum has all it takes to be regarded as a trip down memory lane where the past meets the present.


Source: DGPC (