Chiado Museum is based in Chiado on Rua Serpa Pinto. To get there, aim for Cafe Brasileira on Rua Garrett and take the road on your left just before the cafes and the metro stop. Walk about half way down the road and you’ll see a long red flag hanging down on the left hand side of the street announcing you’ve arrived. Just before you reach the entrace of the Museum, make sure you check out the doorway in the wall as these leads into the Museum Cafe which is definately worth a visit (here’s a clue – there are circular windows in the wall). It’s one of those places that not so many people know about but the garden is lovely and cool and it’s the perfect place to while away an hour before or after your museum visit. Food and drinks are reasonably priced and the staff are friendly too.
The Museum initially opened on the 26th May 1911 and was housed in an ancient Convent of Saint Francis. Closed just before the terrible Chiado fire in 1988 the museum went through a complete redesign and reopened it’s doors in 1994. The building inside is a beautiful space full of curved wooden accented ceilings and wood and glass walkways. The architecture gives a curious feeling of the building being very old and very new all at the same time.
Museu do Chiado specialisies in art from the mid 19th Century to now. A few pieces come from outside Portugal but the vast majority are Portuguese artists. There are a range of styles and disciplines with work ranging from Romanticism through to Avant Garde, Surrealism to Expressionism – and probably a good deal more art ‘ism’s’ that I don’t know the name of 🙂
Having little true knowledge of art I am merely an observer and sometimes I think it is important just to experience a piece and see how it touches the senses rather than to compare or contrast or even describe. Sometimes, I just like to let art be…well…art.
I loved the piece by Alberto Carneiro ‘Raiz, Caule, Folhas, Flores e Frutas’ (Root, Stem, Leaves, Flowers and Fruits) and an odd sculpture ‘Duas Cabeças’ (two heads) by Jorge Martins. There was a space that paid homage to symbolism and another paying homage to the blues (I’m assuming this was a temporary exhibition). The artwork is very varied and interesting and therefore there’s something for everyone. I have to say however my favourite piece was Helena Almeida’s “Pintura Habitada” (Inhabited Painting). There was something quite mesmorizing about her work – the vividness of the blue, the artist disappearing into the art…absolutely beautiful. This collection of images has stayed in my mind long after I came home.
The Museum is open Tuesday to Sundays 10am – 6pm and costs €4 to enter except on Sunday mornings when it is free until 2pm.
Rua Serpa Pinto, 4-6, Chiado, Lisboa