Cinnaminson, New Jersey
November 7, 2004
From Praca Comercio, we took tram 15 minutes to the museum, and up a steep flight of stairs, there we were, in front of a yellow building with a sign and white urns on the side of the entrance staircase. The Museum of Ancient Art has a large collection that spans three floors of the Alvor-Pombal Palace and one floor of the adjacent, more modern building, built in 1940s.
On the ground floor, you can see St. Albert’s chapel (16th-18th century), in gilded Baroque with azulejos retables, which is very beautiful. This is all that is left of the monastery that was on this spot and was destroyed by the earthquake of 1755.
On the first floor, there is a very large collection of various Oriental screens, tapestries, Chinese vases, Portuguese ceramics, religious relics, and Portuguese silver and furniture. The remainder of the floor is connected to the old palace by a bookshop. The first floor has a large collection of European paintings from the 14-19th centuries, including works by such masters as Bosch ("The Temptations of St Anthony"), Memling, Durer ("St Jerome"), Raphael, Piero della Francesca, Zurbaran, Velazquez, Poussin, and Courbet. The second and third floors have a great collection of Portuguese art from a lot of churches in Portugal. This is the largest collection of early Portuguese religious paintings, and includes a 15th-century polyptych, "Adoration of St Vincent" by Nuno Goncalves, which is the most important painting of that time Portugal. Here you can also see lots of paintings and wooden sculptures of various saints, Madonna, and Christ.
From journal Travels in Portugal-The best of Lisbon: Part Four