To succeed in his mission, like a new Bellerophon, the Jesuit philosopher must combine intellectual gifts with those of prudence.
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 renovation of the inner space of the Igreja da Misericórdia in Évora is one of the best examples of the importance of tiles for combining the discourse of images with the decorative program, in a campaign carried out by the painter António de Oliveira Bernardes, in 1716.
In 1675, there was a complete transformation of the inner space of the University of Évora Great Hall.
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.
It is with some surprise that we can see some mistakes in the Latin phrases on the tile panels in the rooms of the Espírito Santo College, in Évora, and on the mathematical theorems in the tiles of the Santo Antão-o-Novo College, in Lisbon.
It is the careful selection of models, the perfect integration with the decorative ensemble, and the construction of an involving pictorial space that define António de Oliveira Bernardes as the great interpreter of tile painting in the 18th-century.
The program of the Jesuit philosophy course was structured in several stages and firmly anchored in Aristotelian thought. In the early levels, the students earned a solid initial training in Natural Philosophy and Logic.
To celebrate the nuns’ return to Évora, a major campaign of works was undertaken, with the order of 19 tile panels with scenes of the life of the French abbot Bernard of Clairvaux. Dated around 1783-1785, they are likely to have been produced at the Royal Tableware Factory, in Lisbon.
In Evora, a small room in the parish church of Saint Mammes has a decorative ensemble that combines the tiles on the walls with the frescoes on the ceilings in a coherent iconographic program in praise of the Blessed Sacrament.
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