Portugal Tour - Medieval to Modern
September 18-26, 2005

 

September 21st was our day to travel to the Palacio Nacional de Queluz. Begun in 1747 by the Infante Dom Pedro (later to become Dom Pedro III) on the basis of a former country mansion of the Marquises of Castelo Rodrigo, Queluz Palace (classified as a National Monument) at that time began to be adapted for use as a summer seat of the Royal Family.

'The main body of the Palace, erected by 1758, with its low sinuous forms and harmonious intimate decoration, was completed after the marriage of the Infante Dom Pedro to Dona Maria Francisca, the future Dona Maria I (1760), at which time the opulent interior halls were embellished, as were the luxurious Palace gardens, which were endowed with Baroque fountains, statues and places for recreation. An important part in these improvements was taken by the great French architect Robillion (died 1782), who was responsible for the well known "Robillion Pavilion". Queluz, which has frequently been compared with Versailles Palace, differs from Louis XIV's edifice (in fact of earlier date) in the sense of scale and proportions revealed in its lines, perhaps with a more balanced distribution of graphic values, within a neo-classicism as yet not bound to the rococo formulae. Only the force and exuberance of the pavilion conceived by Robillion, with its strong French and Austrian influence, strikes a more "evolved" note, for all the rest is thoroughly Portuguese, its scale and in the artistic spirit itself.'

'The sumptuous gardens of Queluz, which were organized from 1760 onwards, on the occasion of the marriage of the Infante Dom Pedro to the future Queen Maria I, reveal a scenic conception of considerable vision, which must be attributed to the architect Robillion and the Dutch gardener Joseph van der Kolk, according to the then prevailing "French taste". The ponds and fountains, the numerous rococo statues, the marble vases, dividing and strictly demarcating the carefully planned green zones, the Baroque cascades, the lakes and sizeable canal (once navigable, and decorated with 18th Century azulejos), all express a taste with attention to detail and an opulent effect that enlivens the actual architectural ensemble of the Palace. One of the fountains - the Fonte de Neptuno, which came from the remains of Quinta do Senhor de Serra at Belas - is ascribed to the great Italian master Bernini.'

We had a bit of free time in the afternoon which I put to good use by going to visit the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, a must see while here! Not only do you have the museum to visit but also the gardens surrounding it are beautiful and restful to walk through. The building blends in with nature and its contents are a perfect collection from a man who loved the best. Like the jade bowl, or the peony plate from the 15th century. The Lalique silver, chalices and jewellery, the paintings - it was just a delight to walk around here and take in all this mans incredible collection. I walked back to the hotel and on the way got a chance to take a picture of a fellow putting the little pieces of sidewalk together.
 


 

 

 

 

 


  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row