Museum hunting has always been on my list no matter where I go. As a former art student I feel obliged to make my way to at least one museum in every city I visit. Whether I have to queue for two hours in the freezing cold to get inside the Vatican Museum, or squeeze 3 museums in one day in Paris, I’ll make it through and there are no regrets.
Lisbon has it’s fair share of museums and due to the amount of time I’ve had living here I’ve seen quite a few. While I’ve mostly been into paintings and sculptures, I took my time in Lisbon to get out of my comfort zone and explore a little more then just fine art. Surprisingly some of these museums turned out to be my favorites. So here I’ll be listing my top 5 from around 10 museums that I’ve already visited in Lisbon.
1. Calouste Gulbenkian Museum
This museum is part of the Gulbenkian foundation. I believe this is the biggest collection of artwork in Lisbon, or at least the biggest I’ve seen. From ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt and Persia to European paintings, sculptures and French decorative arts, it’s got you covered. It offers an amazing array of items; pottery, textiles, furniture, carpets, Lalique glass, paintings. There are usually some really good temporary exhibitions as well, depending on how lucky you are. It’s probably one of the best museums you’ll get to visit in Europe without having to spend over 10€ for entrance. The complex includes a really nice Library, a restaurant and a sublime, lush garden, so you could easily spend a whole relaxing day here if you want.
2. National Coach Museum
This is absolutely one of my favorites. A collection of royal ceremony vehicles, paintings and uniform dresses. The building itself is so majestic and lavishing and the whole collection is an attribute to craftsmanship and artistry.
3. National Tile Museum
Tin-glazed ceramic tile work is a part of the Portuguese culture and has been for centuries. It was originally introduced to them by the Arabs was later used in large quantities to cover empty spaces. Nowadays they are to be found in every corner of the city, from Palaces and train stations to random street corners. This museum is a little sneak peak of Portuguese tile work with an entire spectrum of tiles in Portugal. The building also includes an extremely remarkable gold smothered chapel that is not to be missed. Add to that a sublime courtyard restaurant and you could easily be spending a good half-day here.
4. Berardo Museum
As a snapshot of the last century’s art, it hits the nail on the head. The collection is beautifully laid out and you’re to see masterpieces of Picasso, Pollack and Warhol.
5. Carmo Convent and Archeology Museum
This place is absolutely mind blowing. What is left of the convent is roofless church that was ruined due to the 1755 Lisbon earthquake and I have to admit I much rather have it this way. The archeology part is very small but the whole building has an exquisite unique feeling to it.
So if you’ve been to Lisbon, what’s was your favorite museum? Are you also an art geek who likes to trap himself between museum walls every once in a while? If so, what’s your best experience until now?