The Portuguese Renaissance is in the spotlight for the first time at the Louvre, an opportunity to discover the golden age of Portuguese painting.

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A Golden Age

For the first time, visitors to the Louvre are invited to discover the refined and wonderfully executed art of painters active in Lisbon, Portugal in the first half of the 16th century. At that time, Lisbon, capital of a vast empire, was a multicultural city where the riches and discoveries of the New World flowed. It also houses the court of King Manuel I. With the patronage of Kings Manuel I (1495-1521) and John III (1521-1557) who surrounded themselves with court painters and commissioned many altarpieces, Portuguese painting then experienced a golden age.

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An acute sense of observation

In Lisbon, capital of the kingdom facing the ocean, the arrival of Flemish painters changed the history of European painting. After the first fires of Nuno Gonçalves (active from 1450 and before 1492), the Lisbon workshops, federated around Jorge Afonso (active between 1504 and 1540), adopted a new way of painting, based on a perfect mastery of the technique in oil. These painters combine bluish landscapes imbued with poetry, precious fabrics and accessories, refined architectural details with an acute and sometimes comical sense of observation and narration, operating a very original synthesis between the pictorial inventions of the Flemish and Italian Renaissance and Portuguese culture.

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A prosperous period

However, this prosperous period is little known to the general public. For what reasons ? An earthquake that devastated Lisbon in 1755 carried away its architectural and pictorial treasures. And the process of “desamortization” (seizure of property) initiated in the 19th century, which enabled the Portuguese State to recover a significant part of the Church’s heritage, hindered its circulation beyond the borders, limiting its international influence. Among the painters to discover: Nuno Gonçalves (considered the father of the Portuguese Renaissance), Jorge Afonso (active between 1504 and 1540), Cristovao de Figueiredo (between 1515 and 1554) or Gregorio Lopes (between 1513 and 1550).

L’âge d’or de la Renaissance Portugaise

Musée du Louvre

Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris

June 10 – October 10, 2022

General informations

Price (museum + exhibition) 17€ Average

Location : Richelieu wing, 2nd floor, room 831

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