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Approximately 4½ Hours
Meals not included
The National Museum of Ancient Art in Lisbon is considered to be among one of the most important art museums in Europe. Works in the museum span a period of 700 years -- from the 12th to 19th centuries -- and are as remarkable in their creativity as they are in their record of time. Altogether, the collection reflects Portugal's history, culture and role in the world from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance, Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution. The most important of the Portuguese paintings you'll find here is undoubtedly the Veneration of St Vincent -- as important an historical document as it is a painting, as it portrays some prominent 15th-century personalities, including Prince Henry the Navigator.
The theme of the Discoveries is ever-present, illustrating Portugal's links with Africa, India, China and Japan. 16th-century Japanese screens show the Portuguese explorers arriving in Japan. For the Japanese, this was their first contact with Europeans, so their fascination with the Portuguese is seen in the particular emphasis given to the Portuguese's mustaches, western nose size, and buttons, which were unheard-of in Japan. From the same era are some Afro-Portuguese carved tusks, Indo-Portuguese chests, and samples of Chinese porcelain that was shipped to Lisbon.
Don't miss the fine collection of decorative art and silverware, including the Monstrance of Belém, which was made from the first shipment of gold brought home by Vasco da Gama. A collection of 18th-century French silverware features pieces by François Thomas Germain, which once belonged to the Portuguese royal family.
Please note: Wear comfortable walking shoes.