Portraits have some tradition in Portuguese tiles and are often associated with a historical narrative.
The Anonymous Tile Painter
Although history has kept the name of remarkable tile painters, usually the activity was carried out in anonymity.
The Ingenious Tile Painter
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 Great Lisbon Workshop
The Great Lisbon Workshop was a society of painters and potteries created by the activity of the master tiler Bartolomeu Antunes (1688-1753), whose main objective was to supply all the tile works on the royal villas and palaces.
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 Madragoa Pottery
The Madragoa Pottery belonged to a large group of small manufacturing units that formed the industrial ceramics nucleus of the Lisbon parishes of Santos-o-Velho and Santa Catarina.
Las cuatro virtudes primordiales
La creación de un código de conducta moral para el hombre sabio y virtuoso es uno de los objetivos fundamentales de la literatura humanista.
Bellerophon and the Jesuit Philosopher
To succeed in his mission, like a new Bellerophon, the Jesuit philosopher must combine intellectual gifts with those of prudence.
The Talking Animals
Literature for the education of young people has a long tradition in Western culture. The tales, the parables, and the verses are so ingrained in the general literature that we often forget that they were conceived with a precise pedagogical purpose.
The Four Ages of Love
With some frequency, gender painting seems to transcend the field of visual arts to reflect changes in social behaviors.
The Tile Painter’s Error
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.
The Triumph of a New Dynasty
The palace and gardens of the Marqueses de Fronteira, an exemplary piece of Portuguese civil architecture of the 17th century, find their model in the programs of the Triumphal Entries, in which the cities celebrate the enthronement of a new monarch or the royal weddings.
The history kept the memory of the ugliness of Queen Carlota Joaquina, of a wanton life with numerous lovers, fame fed by the Portuguese Civil War (1828-1834), and her support for D. Miguel.
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.
The taste and fashion of the chinoiserie were the direct result of Europe’s interactions with the East, within the framework of building a global trade network.
Architects and Tiles
The tiles made for the stairways of 18th-century palaces in Lisbon are one of the most evident examples of the close relationship between the design of architecture and the ornamentation that ennobles these spaces. They are also evidence that the hand of architects often guided the renovation of tiles.
The building of the convent of Necessidades, in Lisbon, associated with a royal palace, is one of the various initiatives to support the modernization of science teaching practices in Portugal, in the mid-18th century.
The gardens of the Quinta dos Marqueses de Fronteira, in Lisbon, form a unique set that combines sculpture, tiles, and cladding to celebrate the triumph of the heroes of the Portuguese Restoration Wars (1640-1668) and the establishment of the new Bragança dynasty.
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 the high choir, there is a monumental representation of Paterno, bishop of Braga, presiding over a council in Toledo. This is the key theme that defines the general objective of the images of the Saint Vitor Church, with a political discourse in defense of the ambitions of the city of the archbishops.
The tiles made to the wealthy merchant António Pereira’s house, currently applied over the benches and flowerbeds flanking the main entrance of the Sobralinho Palace, in Vila Franca de Xira, are one of the best examples of the peculiar way in which images of exotic countries are shaped to adjust to the taste and objectives of their patrons.
Images for a Divine Pedagogy
The decorative program of the Saint James Church was completed between the years 1699 and 1700, already in the final part of the archbishopric of Friar Luís da Silva Teles. The iconographic program articulates the tile panels with the frescoes on the ceiling, in an exaltation of the Sacrament of the Eucharist, a fundamental theme for the Catholic Church after the Council of Trent.
The Importance of Metaphysics
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.
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.
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.
The Triumph of the Blessed Sacrament
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.
El trasfondo moral estoico fue la razón principal para la elección de los emblemas representados en los azulejos del claustro del Convento de San Francisco, en la ciudad de Salvador de Bahía, Brasil.
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.
The tiles painted by Gabriel del Barco for the Convent of Nossa Senhora da Assunção are one of the most amazing works of the Spanish painter, a pioneer of blue and white figurative tiles in Portugal.
Geometric Tile Patterns with Gilded Ornaments
Green and white or blue and white tile sets often received a gilded decoration, applied on the walls, with no relation to the ceramic manufacturing process. These relatively fragile golden ornaments have faded over the years, but traces remain on the Chapter House of Beja.
The Four Elements of the Universe
The construction of the octagonal tower of the Jesuit University was funded by António Franco, and the edifice was an opportunity for the elaboration of an innovative iconographic program.
In 1675, there was a complete transformation of the inner space of the University of Évora Great Hall.