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In Portugal, tiles are one of the most engaging examples of the transposition of the scholar culture into architecture, in a permanent dialogue with the world of visual arts.



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The Wise Laughter of Democritus

One of the fables of La Fontaine, illustrated on the tiles of the Royal School of the Monastery of São Vicente de Fora, recounts the story of the philosopher Democritus, who, when contemplating the daily life of his fellow citizens, laughed without ceasing.

The Laughter of the Monkey World

On the benches that surround the tank of one of the gardens of Quinta dos Marqueses de Fronteira, there is one tile panel with a representation of singeries. It was a satirical image and a invitation to spend free hours, without social constraints, in the garden.

A Black Slave Woman in the Kitchen

The representation of a black slave woman tending a fish in the kitchen of the Sousa Mexia Palace, currently the headquarters of the Lisbon Museum, is an essential complement to the furniture and indicates the form of social occupation of this space.

I Will Move the Earth

In the ensemble that decorates the main hall of Colégio de Santo Antão-o-Novo, in Lisbon, the panel with the representation of a gear system that lifts the weight of the Earth is one of the good examples of transposing an erudite knowledge to eighteenth-century tiles.

Prometheus and the Jesuit Physics

In one of the panels of the Colégio do Espírito Santo classroom, the scientific discipline of Physics is compared with The punishment of Prometheus, a theme with an enormous tradition among humanists since the work of Andrea Alciato.

Science as a Christian Weapon

Both in the panel tiles of the physics class at the Colégio do Espírito Santo and the mathematics class in the Aula da Esfera, the Archimedes weapon established a bridge between the sciences and the successful evangelizing activity of the Jesuits.

The Sacristy as Scenery of Moral and Mystical Allegories

In the sacristy of the Convento de Santo António do Varatojo, we can admire a series of figured tile panels that show a combined program of allegorical compositions from the illustrations of two 17th century influential books of devotional emblems.

The River Acis and the Royal Fishing

Fishing near the Cascata dos Gigantes at Quinta dos Marqueses de Pombal, in Oeiras, was an unusual recreation in the gardens of Portuguese country houses in the eighteenth century.

The Public Order of Time

The clocks of the modern period, despite entirely mechanical, have not forgotten their former dependence on the star at the centre of the Solar System.

Athos Bulcão and the Tiles of Brasília

Despite still being relatively unknown, Athos Bulcão and his artistic legacy left us a demonstration of immense creative potential, which the art tiles medium was only part of a bigger picture.

Midas’ Ears of a Donkey

Poetic contests are one of the main events of courtesan life. In the academies, supported by great aristocrats, the poets get together to recite verses, to praise, and to be awarded.

Love Triumphs over War

At the Quinta de Oeiras, on the stairs that flank the fountain’s niche, two tile panels depict the victories of love over war: Mars disarmed by Venus and Andromeda freed by Perseus.

The Perfect Christian King

The Monastery of São Vicente de Fora main hall, with a gallery of royal portraits, has one of the most outstanding programs of images from the Portuguese 18th century.

Hunting in the New World

In villas and palaces, it was common to have rooms decorated with hunting scenes, one of the most recurrent themes depicted in the 1600s and 1700s.

The Fisher of Hearts

The doubts about the unstable behavior of beautiful women became natural with the female personification of the months of the year.

4 replies on “PORTUGUESE TILES”

Tenho acompanhado os textos e cada dia admiro mais a sua dedicação nos seus trabalhos e a excelente investigação que faz para nos dar a conhecer mais da História da azulejaria em Portugal. Parabéns Celso!

Liked by 2 people

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