Like a healing balm at the end of a painful trek – that’s what the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum’s new awakening feels like after almost three months of closure to the public imposed by the public health restrictions with which all of us, both the Foundation and the country more widely, have sought to control the pandemic that has befallen us so dramatically.
Now, however (aware of the need for continuing caution), we are embarking on a path that we all hope will restore our abruptly interrupted lives as much as possible. The fact that this has coincided with the start of spring, when gradually awakening energies merge with memories of the long winter fading behind us, seems to be symbolic of auspicious times to come.
What’s more, the museum’s reopening, with renewed offerings from its exquisite collection, also comes just in time to reap the fruits of one of its biggest projects in recent times: the important exhibition René Lalique and the Age of Glass, made available for visitors for one more week, could not be more timely – with the additional coincidence of the anniversary of the birth of this wonderful artist, whose works make up one of the most extensive and valuable collections held by the Calouste Gulbenkian Collection.
Spanning Art Nouveau and Art Deco, Lalique’s body of work represents an eloquent hymn to life, in which creative energies are backed by rigorous technical and scientific knowledge, which allowed him to confidently forge new creative paths with an unusual fusion of themes and materials that would shape the future of artistic creation itself. A century later, his work provides us with a valuable lesson on the importance of prudence at every step we take: a virtue that (without contradiction) must illuminate and nurture the rightful celebration of life.
António Filipe Pimentel
Director of the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum