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National Museum of Ancient Art

Hosts the country’s largest public collection of paintings, sculpture, decorative arts

The National Museum of Ancient Art (MNAA) hosts the country’s largest public collection of paintings, sculpture, decorative arts – Portuguese, European and from Portugal’s former colonies – ranging from the Middle Ages to the 19th century including a significant number of exhibits listed as “national treasures”. Noteworthy among them are the Panels of St. Vincent by Nuno Gonçalves, a masterpiece of European painting from the 15th century; the monstrance of Belém by Gil Vicente, commissioned by King D. Manuel I in 1506; the Namban folding screens from late 16th century bearing witness to the Portuguese presence in Japan; the Temptation of St. Anthony by Bosch, a supreme example of an early 16th century Flemish painting; Saint Jerome by Dürer, an innovative representation of the saint along with important works by Memling, Rafael, Cranach or Piero della Francesca. Housed in the Palace of the Counts of Alvor, in Lisbon’s Santos district, the MNAA and its garden (including a restaurant and a terrace) provide an exceptional view over the River Tagus and the Port of Lisbon.

The Museum was inaugurated on 2 June 1884 in response to a long-awaited wish to provide accommodation for the works of art that came into possession of the State after the religious orders were abolished in 1834. This 17th-century palace, commissioned by the first Count of Alvor, was refurbished in 1911 and acquired its current

name. The next door Convent of St. Albert, derelict by then, was demolished in 1918 so that the museum extended its premises. A vast annex, designed by the architect Rebello de Andrade, was inaugurated in 1940. 


Source: DGPC (