National Museum of Friar Manuel do Cenáculo
Decree-Law no. 1355 formalizes the decision calling it the Regional Museum of Evora
Decree-law no. 226 authorizes the establishment of the Évora Museum. In the following year, Decree-Law no. 1355 formalizes this decision calling it the Regional Museum of Evora. The Museum opened its doors to the public in 1921 at the Amaral Palace building and was entirely relocated to the current building in 1929. The first four halls are opened two years later and in 1936 the Archaeological Museum, which was previously on the ground floor of the Public Library of Evora, is also incorporated. Annexed to the main building, since 1917, is the Church of Nossa Senhora das Mercês, a 17th-century building which belonged to a former Augustinian Convent, corresponding to the Decorative Arts section. The importance and diversity of the Museum collection and its historical background, which dates back to Friar Manuel do Cenáculo and to the foundation of a small museum annexed to the Public Library of Evora in 1805, make this museum indispensable for getting to know and understanding the history, and the artistic and cultural expressions of Evora, the Evora region and the whole country.
The collections contain important art and archaeology holdings, as well as a natural history collection (earth and life sciences) and scientific objects (Science and Technology).
Noteworthy is the painting collection, covering the period from the 15th to the 20th century, including predominantly Portuguese authors and paintings belonging to the city’s extinct churches and convents. Of particular note are the Flemish retables of the main altar of the See of the Evora and the Chapel of Esporão, the tryptic of the Convent of Valverde by Gregorio Lopes, and the paintings by Francisco Henriques, the painter of the Church of São Francisco in Évora.In the foreign painting collection, belonging mainly to Friar Manuel do Cenáculo, attention is drawn to the works by the Dutch and Italian schools of painting.
The sculpture collection includes architectural elements from the city monuments as well as important examples of tombs from the 14th to the 18th centuries. The furniture collection makes it possible to trace civil furniture from the 16th to the 19th century. Extinction of religious orders and the subsequent handing over of this property to the State has contributed to the creation of a collection of gold and silverware, composed of liturgical implements and jewellery as well as textiles, mainly liturgical vestments.
The numismatics and naturalia collection comes essentially from the holdings of Archbishop Friar Manuel do Cenáculo.
The vast and representative archaeology collection consists of several collections, mainly from Frei Manuel do Cenáculo. The Archbishop was one of the first to develop archaeological work according to his correspondence. Mention should also be made to the Leonor Pina collection, including the fantastic holdings of the Great Dolmen of Zambujeiro, together with the so-called Hospital collection, with findings of other dolmen from the municipality of Evora such as Herdade de Casas, Castelo de Lousa and Geraldo Castle. These pieces were unearthed in excavations made prior to the building of the museum, dating from the Islamic and paleo Christian periods, and came to fill certain gaps in the collection.
Source: DGPC (www.patrimoniocultural.pt)