National Museum of Ancient Art

Museums Estrela/Lapa/Santos
Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga
© Lydia Evans / Time Out

Housed in a 17th-century former palace, the National Museum of Ancient Art is the only truly comprehensive view of Portuguese art from the 12th to the early 19th centuries. Its most prized possession is Nuno Gonçalves's enigmatic late 15th-century masterpiece, usually known as the Panels of St Vincent, although its subject is hotly disputed: some say the central figure is Dom Fernando, the Infante Santo (holy prince) who died in captivity in Fez in 1443. The collection also includes Flemish Renaissance paintings (including a triptych by Hieronymous Bosch), Chinese porcelain, Indian furniture and African carvings. There are some fascinating products of the stylistic mix fostered by the 15th- and 16th-century Discoveries and empire, such as Indo-Portuguese cabinets with legs in the form of buxom women or snarling tigers. The shop is excellent.


Venue name: National Museum of Ancient Art
Address: R das Janelas Verdes, 17
Opening hours: 2-6pm Tue; 10am-6pm Wed-Sun
Transport: Rail Santos
Price: €6; €3 reductions; free under-12s & all 1st Sun of mth
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