You may already know that I am a fan of museums, and every time I travel I like to visit at least one of them. And if I find an art museum is much better. In Lisbon, we paid a visit to the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, a place worth seeing.
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How to get there.
Although the museum is a bit far from Lisbon downtown it’s not difficult to get there. The easiest way for me is the subway. We took the metro from the Baixa-Chiado station to the Praça de Espanha station, but you can also get off at S. Sebastião stop.
There’s a large park where the museum is located. If you get off at Praça de Espanha you will see the Arco de Sao Bento in front. Also near there is a big Spanish store called Corte Ingles.
Prices and schedules
The standard price is €14.00 if you want to visit both collections and temporary exhibitions. If you only want to visit the two collections, the founder’s and contemporary art, the ticket costs €10.00. We chose the latter.
There’s a 50% reduction for those over 65 and under 29. Also a 20% discount for those who have a Lisbon Card, Lisbon City Sightseeing and the Ciência Viva Card.
On Sundays after 14:00 hrs, access to the museum is free. Take advantage!
The opening hours to visit the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum are from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. On Tuesdays and holidays, it’s closed. You can get more information and have a glance at the collection on the Museum’s official website.
The Calouste Gulbenkian Museum was inaugurated in 1969. It takes its name from the Turkish businessman and philanthropist who donated his art collection to Lisbon. He gathered this collection throughout his life in the 20th century. It has more than 6000 pieces of which approximately 1000 are displayed to the public.
Calouste Gulbenkian spent many years in Paris until a diplomatic incident in the Second World War forced him to move to Lisbon. He would spend the rest of his days here. After his death, he donated his collection which was scattered throughout various European cities
If you want more ideas about what to see and do in Lisbon check out this post.
The foundation created in 1956 after his death, includes the museum and an art library. But also consists of the Gulbenkian Orchestra, a publishing house and the Gulbenkian Institute of Science.
Visiting the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum
As I mentioned before, we visited the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum on a rainy day. We had to run from the subway station to the Museum lobby (and the wind almost flew my handbag away). They kindly welcomed us and sold us the tickets.
They also explained to us that we had to get out of this room to enter another which is where the museum visit begins.
The Modern Art collection is in another building too, but you can access with the same ticket.
The founder’s collection includes paintings from the 15th to the 17th century. Antiquities like Egyptian and Greco-Roman art and Islamic art. French decorative art from the 18th century is also exhibited, among others.
Among the ancient art that you can see at the Calouste Gulbenkian museum are Egyptian sculptures, Persian textiles, vessels, coins, jewelry, and illuminated manuscripts.
Paintings by Monet, Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Dyck, Renoir, Carpaccio, and Ghirlandaio stand out. As you can see there are many works by famous masters that make it worth visiting the museum.
Also very interesting is a large number of 18th-century French furniture and tapestries. As well as the special collection of Art Nouveau jewelry by the French designer René Lalique.
I really enjoyed this collection because it contains a great variety of ancient art, and paintings by well-known artists, including some Renaissance artworks. I also liked the French furniture and decorative arts.
Modern Art collection
The collection of modern art contains pieces of Portuguese art from the beginning of the 20th century to the present. Among the artists whose works are in this room are Amadeo de Souza Cardoso, Almada Negreriros and Helena Almeida.
Starting the tour of this room, there are some sculptures (a little strange) and ahead, paintings and illustrations. Modern Art pieces are distributed on two floors.
The truth is that as an old soul that I am, contemporary art is not my cup of tea. We were already tired because the tour in the founder’s collection was not exactly short. So we really took a quick glance and we left.
Is it worth the visit to the Calouste Gulbenkian museum?
Despite being far from the city center it’s definitely recommended to visit the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum.
Also, if you have time, you can visit some of the temporary exhibitions as they change each season. But with the founder’s collection, it’s enough to make the entrance fee worth it.
Unfortunately, we could not walk around the gardens due to the weather. But if it’s good weather when you go, it’s a nice place to relax. Besides, the museum has a cafeteria if you fancy a coffee.
I hope you enjoyed this publication. If you’ve already visited this art museum in Lisbon, tell us your experience in the comments section. And if you haven’t visited it, would you like it?
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Until then and bon voyage!