The Calouste Gulbenkian Museu is housed in a complex of modern buildings, the first example of twentieth-century architecture to have been classified as a National Monument in Portugal, both for its formal excellence and its integration into the natural surroundings. The museum boasts collections of fine and decorative arts, from Ancient Egypt to twentieth-century Europe. The quality of the architecture extends to that of the permanent display, which, structured around two great sections of Oriental and European Art respectively, provides insight into the individual taste of the collector, Gulbenkian.
The permanent display includes an ensemble of rare objects from Egypt, Greece, Persia, Mughal India and Turkey. There are masterpieces by artists such as Ghirlandaio, Rembrandt, Rubens, Fragonard, Guardi, Houdon, Turner, Corot, Degas, Manet and Monet. Among the decorative arts, there is furniture by Cresssent and Riesener, silverwork by François-Thomas Germain, Spire and Durant; as well as the unique ensemble of jewellery by René Lalique.
João Castel-Branco let himself be guided by his freedom of choice and personal taste; vevertheless, the choices ended up yoked together under three rubrics: objects, places and people. Invariably, something of Calouste Gulbenkian’s own temperament surfaces in these choices: the selection reflects the values embodied in the whole collection.
- João Castel-Branco Pereira
- Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisboa, Scala Publishers, London
- 9 €