Museum opening hours: Temporariamente encerrado para obras de requalificação

Fresco Painting

Fresco Painting

The Museu de Alberto Sampaio is the only Portuguese museum that has a permanent exhibition room dedicated to fresco painting, a type of painting made on the walls while the plasterwork is still wet. This room was created in 2002 to show paintings detached from some churches from the north of Portugal in the 1930s-1940s: Convento de São Francisco (Guimarães), Igreja de Fonte Arcada (Póvoa de Lanhoso), Igreja de São Salvador de Bravães (Ponte da Barca) and Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Azinheira (Outeiro Seco, Chaves).

During the 15th century, and reaching its peak in the middle of the 16th century, Portuguese temples began to be decorated with mural paintings that helped Christians to become familiar with biblical passages and the hagiography of their chosen saints. This pictorial medium was faster, more durable, effective, renewable and also much more economical than the recourse to easel painting organized into altar pieces.

The following centuries, the walls of the temples began to be coated with woodcarving that covered the frescos, then fallen into disuse, being destroyed those that weren’t hidden by the altarpieces.

In the 1930s, the Direção Geral dos Edifícios e Monumentos Nacionais (DGEMN), endeavouring to recover the medieval architecture of some of those temples, discovered several pictorial fresco testimonies, some of them superimposed, as a result of distinct chronological interventions.

Although the detachment is always the last solution to adopt, due to restoration operational needs, and following a line of option that tended to value the oldest testimonies, some paintings were detached from their architectonic support and they either remained inside the buildings in separate panels and with an inadequate support or were transferred to collections of museums, namely to the Museu de Alberto Sampaio.

Detail of a fresco painting

Beheading of Saint John, the Baptist

16th century

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Detail of the fresco painting "Baptism of Christ"

Baptism of Christ

16th century

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Detail of fresco painting

Eternal Father

16th century

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Detail of fresco painting

Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian

16th century

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Detail of fresco painting

Holy Family

16th century

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Face of Christ. Detail of fresco painting.

The Saviour, Jesus Christ

16th century

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Detail of fresco painting

Entombment

16th century

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Detail of Saint Bernard. Fresco painting

Saint Bernard and Saint Benedict

16th century

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