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Pessoas sentadas observam um painel no Museu de Arte Antiga
Fotografia: Arlindo Camacho Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga

Things to do in Lisbon: 12 works of art you absolutely must see

From a Fernando Pessoa portrait to the Yogurt Cup won by Benfica, here are a few pieces you definitely should see

By Time Out Lisbon editors
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Are you familiar with the properties of mummy dust? Are you ready to take a call with a lobster? If you don’t know what you’re missing in Lisbon’s museums, which are full of unmissable experiences, we break it down for you. Museum collections are full of treasures, and there’s something for everyone. We offer you a guide so you don’t get lost in museum halls, and tell you which artworks you should get to know.

Things to do in Lisbon: 12 works of art you absolutely must see

JÚLIO POMAR Resistência, 1946 no atelier museu julio pomar
JÚLIO POMAR Resistência, 1946 no atelier museu julio pomar
©António Jorge Silva

"Resistência", by Júlio Pomar

Museums Chiado/Cais do Sodré

The work was completed in , during a four-month period in which painter Júlio Pomar, whose works were markedly political, was incarcerated. The artist donated it to the Lisbon Museum collection; it is currently deposited at the Júlio Pomar Workshop-Museum.

Rua Vale,7. Sun-Sat 10am-1pm & 2pm-6pm. 2€.

Painéis de São Vicente
Painéis de São Vicente
©Nuno Gonçalves/MNNA

The Saint Vincent Panels

Museums Estrela/Lapa/Santos

There are more mysteries than facts about these famous 15th century panels. A 1910 restoration resulted in the publication of the first major analytical work, written by the first director of the National Museum of Ancient Art, where the panels continue to be displayed. José de Figueiredo connected the piece to King Afonso V’s court artist, Nuno Gonçalves, and to the St. Vincent altar piece in the Lisbon See.

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museu de lisboa palácio pimenta
museu de lisboa palácio pimenta
© José Avelar/Museu de Lisboa

Model of Lisbon before the 1755 Earthquake

Museums Campo Grande/Entrecampos/Alvalade

From Alcântara to Santa Apolónia is only a few inches away in this model built in , which is still one of the major attractions of the City Museum. Impress your friends by telling them you know how many wooden boards compose the model’s stand: there are of them.

O Retrato de Fernando Pessoa
O Retrato de Fernando Pessoa
©Carlos Azevedo

The Portrait of Fernando Pessoa

Museums São Sebastião

How many portraits of poet Fernando Pessoa did artist Almada Negreiros paint? Two. After a first version, painted in for the Irmãos Unidos restaurant, a second painting was ordered ten years later by the Gulbenkian Foundation, where it can still be seen.

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Vietnamese Water Puppets

Museums Estrela/Lapa/Santos

Puppets and water in the same sentence? Fear not These puppets come from Vietnam, they are called Roi Nuoc and they do move on water. Actually, they’re manipulated from behind
a bamboo curtain. These puppet shows used to take place in rice paddies, and were related to harvest cycles. Look for them in the Puppet Museum.

taça simpatia-iogurte lisboa cosme damião
taça simpatia-iogurte lisboa cosme damião
©João Freitas

Cosme Damião Museum

Museums Sete Rios/Praça de Espanha

Did you know Benfica was the 1960 underwater sports Portuguese champion? Or that in 1918 the club was visited by tenor Tito Schipa? And then there’s the Lisboa Popularity Lisboa Yogurt Cup, awarded to the club after a popular vote destined to elect the “most popular club”. The trophy was given to team captain Mário Coluna in a game against FC Porto in 1966.

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casa amalia rodrigues
casa amalia rodrigues
©Fundação Amália Rodrigues

Foundation Amália Rodrigues

Museums Lisbon

Picking among works by Maluda, Cesariny, Escada, Pedro Leitão, Eduardo Malta, Palolo or Cargaleiro is not an easy task. But if you had to pick one from the Amália Rodrigues House, it would be the portrait by painter Pinto Coelho (1942-2001), who immortalized the fado diva in 1990, when she was already in her seventies.

Pintura domingos sequeira
Pintura domingos sequeira
©MNAA

Sequeira's Adoration of the Magi

Museums Estrela/Lapa/Santos

A participant in the revolution, Sequeira was “either the first modern painter or the last of the old ones”. In his later years, exiled in Rome, he created a series of four paintings, Thanks to an unprecedented crowdsourcing campaign, the Sequeira returned to its place - the National Museum of Ancient Art walls.

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as tentações de santo antão
as tentações de santo antão
©José Pessoa-DGPC/ADF

The Temptation of Saint Anthony

Museums Estrela/Lapa/Santos

If there is a piece of art that draws crowds, this is it. It is also, believe it or not, among those that most linger in children’s memories. This triptych by Dutch master Hieronymus Bosch portrays Saint Anthony, the original hermit, and draws a stunning comparison between the temptations that haunt him and the trials of Christ.

Telefone Afrodisiaco Branco
Telefone Afrodisiaco Branco
©DR

The White Aphrodisiac Telephone

Museums Belém

First stop: Berardo Museum. A godson of the King of England has hosting a dinner party when, suddenly, guests decided to engage in
a food fight. Salvador Dalí was one of them, and he had a bright idea when he saw a lobster land right on top of a telephone. The idea wasn’t immediately successful. The piece 
was introduced in 1936 in New York, but was not selected for the first great Paris surrealist exhibition. Later, sponsored by the host of the relevant dinner, Dali produced ten telephone sets – four black with the creature in its original color, six white. One of them is a part of the Berardo Collection since 1999.

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Casa Fernando Pessoa
Casa Fernando Pessoa
Fotografia: Ana Luzia

Casa Fernando Pessoa

Attractions Campo de Ourique

It may have been on this dresser, now kept 
in the Casa Fernando Pessoa, that the great Portuguese poet one night wrote the first poems for each of his main heteronyms: Alberto Caeiro, Ricardo Reis, Álvaro de Campos. “I wrote thirty-something poems in a row, in a sort of ecstasy whose nature I will never be able to define”, Pessoa said in 1914.

Atelier, Lisbonne
Atelier, Lisbonne
©Vieira da Silva

"Atelier, Lisbonne", by Vieira da Silva

3 out of 5 stars
Attractions Avenida da Liberdade/Príncipe Real

A famous oil painting created between Lisbon and Paris (where painter Maria Helena Vieira da Silva lived). In Lisbon, Vieira da Silva was based in the Alto de São Francisco workshop, where she and Arpad Szenes spent a long stretch between 1935 e 1936. Spacial relations were a concern throughout her entire career.

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Casa das Historias
© Casa das Historias

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Calcada by Vhils e calceteiros de Lisboa
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