A Photo A Week: Quintessential

Decorating Portugal

Glazed tiles (Azulejos), Sintra, Portugal

Azulejos, tin-glazed ceramic tiles, were introduced to present-day Spain and Portugal by the invading Moors as early as the 13th century. During the 16th and 17th centuries, their use in Portuguese art and architecture became common. Earlier geometric patterns were replaced with elaborate decorative scenes and ornate elements. Azulejos were used to tell stories, especially in churches (where large blank walls in earlier Gothic buildings were covered with elaborate panels), palaces, schools, and other public building. Today Azulejos are still used in Portuguese architecture on both the interior and exterior of building. Efforts are being made to protect historic Azulejos. Beginning in 2013, Lisbon made it illegal to demolish buildings with tile covered facades. Lisbon’s Banco do Azulejo  stores over 30,000 tiles from demolished or renovated buildings. Aviero, Porto and Ovar have similar programs. Since August 2017, a national law prevents the demolition or renovation of buildings that would mean the removal of tiles.

 

Walls of the 14th century cloister of Porto’s cathedral were covered with tiles in the 18th century. While many scenes are religious, they also include scenes from the Metamorphoses, an epic poem by the Roman writer Ovid.

Exotic subjects or elements often depicted in scenes from Portugal’s global empire. This 18th century panel is in the National Palace of Queluz.

A house in Aveiro, Portugal.

For more pictures and information see my earlier posts on Obidos , Aveiro, and Lisbon.

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A Photo A Week: Lights At Night

Temple Night Lights

Interior Rooms, Temple of Luxor, Luxor, Egypt

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A Photo A Week: Opening

To The Walls

Arched Gateway, Óbidos, Portuga

Óbidos is a picturesque, medieval city in Portugal, with well-preserved examples of medieval architecture, including the crenelated wall that encircles the town. Visitors can walk the entire perimeter of the wall for wonderful views of the city and beyond, though the walkway is only for the sure-footed. It does not have a railing on the interior side and the stones can be uneven. Óbidos is a popular tourist destination so plan your visit with that in mind.

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A Photo A Week: A Study in Light

Sky Lights

Dome, Basilica da Estrela, Lisbon, Portugal

 

The Estrela Basilica (Basílica da Estrela) or the Convent of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, sits on one of Lisbon’s seven hills.  Queen Maria I of Portugal ordered construction of the church to fulfilled a promise after giving birth to a healthy son (José, Prince of Brazil). Unfortunately, Jose died of smallpox before construction was completed in 1790. Surfaces are covered with green, pink and yellow marble.

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A Photo A Week: Gold

Baptized in Gold

Chapel of John the Baptist, Church of St. Roch, Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon’s Church of St. Roch is awash with gold. The Chapel of St John the Baptist, ordered by King Juan V in 1540, was constructed in Rome, blessed by the pope, then disassembled and shipped to Lisbon on three ships. It was said to be the most expensive chapel ever built at the time. The scene of John the Baptist above the altar is a micro mosaic, not a painting. The overt use of gold was a celebration of the glories of Portugal’s expansion around the world and the riches the colonies brought to the kingdom.

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A Photo A Week: Orange

Sacred Shades of Orange

Side Chapel Wall Decoration, Notre Dame, Paris

Side Chapel Wall Decoration in Notre Dame de Paris, Paris, France.

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