The Gulbenkian Museum

The Gulbenkian Museum (Museu Calouste Gulbenkian) is situated just north east of Parque Eduardo VII. The easiest way to get their is to jump on the metro blue line at Baixa-Chiado up to São Sebastiao. Once you exit, walk up the main road (Avenida AntOnio Augusta de Aguiar). The Gulbenkian gardens run on your right hand side but you need to walk down almost to the first corner to find an entry point.

The Gulbenkian comprises a modern art gallery and a seperate main building which is the museum. They are set within beautiful landscaped grounds which I also recommend exploring.

My first point of call was the Modern Art gallery. I’m the kind of person who likes to visit museums and galleries but at the same time I don’t tend to hover around exhibitions I don’t feel drawn to. I’ll just keep on walking until I find something that really captures my attention. At times, as my friends will no doubt attest to, it’s meant I’ve walked right in and right out again!

Luckily at the time, the exhibitions in the art gallery were fascinating and I was entraced by one particular installation by an Romanian artist Mircea Cantor. The installation is called Deeaparture (that is the spelling) and can be viewed on You Tube here. There were also some huge arresting photo’s by Pieter Hugo on his exploration of the The Hyena Men of Abuja. I found them both beautiful and disturbing and the images have stayed with me long after my visit.

After viewing the exhibits in the art gallery, I made my way across to the main Gulbenkian building. Normally it would cost 7 Euro’s for entry into both but as I went on a Sunday both were free. Despite there being lots of people, the museum was extraordinarily quiet. The building itself is modern and spacious and contains a wealth of treasured items to be seen. The collection was created by one of the richest men of the 20th Century named Calouste Gulbenkian who donated his entire collection to Portugal when he died. Gulbenkian seemed to have an eye for many different era’s and cultures so the collection comprises items from Egypt, the Far East, Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome and more. Paintings range from pre-Raphaelite to impressionist and includes artists such as Turner, Monet, Burne-Jones, Rembrandt and Rubens. I think my favourite pieces were those in the Egyptian and Islamic collections and the Diana statue by Jean-Antoine Houdon which apparently caused a stir when he completed it due to her being nude. I guess they were more easily shocked way back when 🙂

Back outside in the sunshine, I took a long walk through the delightful gardens that surround the museum and spent some time quietly sitting in the amphitheatre there. Throughout the park are sculptures including work by Henry Moore. There’s a small man-made lake complete with ducks and shady copses where you can watch the dapple of the sun play. Birds, bees and butterflies are all around. It’s a lovely place to spend an hour and recharge your batteries.

For more information about the musem and it’s collection visit the official website.

Price: 7 euro’s for a combined museum and gallery ticket. Sundays are free.

Av. de Berna 45A
1067-001 Lisboa Codex

Opening Hours
Tuesday to Sunday: 10 a.m. to 5.45 p.m.
Closed on Mondays, and on January 1, Easter Sunday, May 1, December 25

Links to artists mentioned in this post:

Pieter Hugo – Official Website
An article by The Guardian on Pieter Hugo

Deeparture by Mircea Cantor

6 comments for “The Gulbenkian Museum

  1. July 21, 2008 at 5:12 am

    Awesome blog… I fell in love with Lisbon too when I went there a few years back. Didn’t have the chance to visit this Museum, but next time…

  2. Lily
    July 21, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    Obrigada Ananda x

  3. July 23, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    Hi Lily!
    You really know how to tell things and to make us regret not to be THERE right now! Wonderful post!
    We had this time no time to go to museums, but we will surely do it next time. And surely to the Gulbenkian Museum too. The next trip to Lisbon is planed for July next year,…
    As an artist I am of course interested in Portugal’s art. I already noticed the statues which stand in many cities, and could appreciate their originality and creativity. But next time I want to see how the Portuguese paint…
    I don’t remember if I already thanked you for the link to the languages site, it is indeed fantastic, and I already registrated myself to learn Portuguese. And I convinced Kevin to learn French there, because my parents always moan that they can’t really speak with him 🙂

  4. Lily
    July 23, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    Hi Miki
    Thanks – If I can inspire someone to visit beautiful Lisbon then I’m happy! I’m really glad you’ve joined LingQ – see you over there x

  5. richard taylor
    November 5, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    Yes, a really fantastic museum – the sheer range and taste of one man! Especially like the Lalique art nouveau jewellery; not very practical, however, as you couldn’t go down to your local corner shop wearing this stuff and even at an evening party you’d be rather conspicuous and perhaps O.T.T. these days. What I like about this museum, compared with, let us say, the Museum of Ancient Art in Lapa, is that you can see EVERYTHING in a few hours…. even if you want to take your time!
    Nice gardens, too, and you can also have a nice lunch there as well, though unfortunately you can’t get anyone to tell you what the various meals on display are! And, regrettably, it’s just as chaotic now in the restaurant as it was on my first visit in 1998, a sentiment shared by one of the desk staff who said it was difficult for them,too, when they went for lunch.

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