Gulbenkian Museum: Reliving the Past, Enjoying the Present
Lisbon, being the one of the world’s historical cities, is home to a wide range of picturesque historical buildings, including centuries-old churches, as well as breathtaking museums, that house significant artifacts and art works. One of the must-see museums in Lisbon is the Gulbenkian Museum. Located in Avenida de Berna, this museum holds a magnificent collection of historical and cultural artifacts.
Museu Gulbenkian in Lisbon, was built 14 years after the death of its benefactor, Mr. Calouste Gulbenkian. It was constructed to house his immense personal art collection and to establish a cultural foundation that would bear his name.
The Museu Gulbenkian takes visitors in a voyage through ancient civilizations. Here, visitors can explore Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Islamic and Asian art collections, which all provide visitors a window to the culture they represent. Wandering through the Egyptian and Roman Art section, for example, seemingly transports visitors back to the time of King Tut, as the exquisite 2700-year old gold Egyptian mummy mask is displayed before their eyes. Moreover, the conspicuous gold head of Alexander the Great, known as the Aboukir Medallion, is reminiscent of ancient Olympic Games dedicated to the great king.
To have a picture of the ancient Mesopotamia, the cradle of the Asian civilization, the part to walk though at the Museu Gulbenkian, is the Mesopotamia section where jewelry pieces from the Hellenistic era and the once-finely glazed faience and marble sculptures from Mesopotamia are displayed.
Similarly, taking a tour in the European Art section transports visitors to the Renaissance era. Displayed in this section are illustrations of Renaissance books as well as paintings and sculptures by famous artists from the era of the rebirth of art. Lisbon’s Gulbenkian Museum will marvel visitors with the display of the world-renowned “Presentation in the Temple” by Stephan Lochner as well as Peter Paul Rubens’ “Flight into Egypt”, Rembrandt’s “Portrait of an Old Man”, Anton Van Dyck’s “Portrait of a Man”, and Houdon’s white marble statue of “Diana”.
Another section that visitors should not miss in Gulbenkian Museum is Rene Lalique’s stunning collection of Art Nouveau pieces. Located in the basement, this section displays dazzling glassware and numerous pieces of jewelry collection, in which some were created purely as commissions for Mr. Calouste Gulbenkian and were never meant to be used as jewels.
Being a cultural foundation, visiting Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon is free for children, students and senior citizens. Other than free entrance, the Museum has facilities for disabled visitors, as well as restaurants for those who want to eat after taking a tour inside the Museum. Within the Museu Gulbenkian compound is also the Modern Art Center, which houses over 10,000 modern and contemporary Portuguese and foreign items.
Home to some of the greatest art works from Ancient Civilizations to the Renaissance epoch, the Gulbenkian Museum is indeed a place where the culture of ancient civilizations breathes alive. Here, visitors can relive the past and, for a moment, forget the present.