Museu do Chiado

Museu do Chiado: Mixing art with people

The Chiado district in Lisbon, is an important arts and culture center. This vibrant district is home to a number of art galleries, theatres, pottery workshops, bookshops, and curio stores.

One of the most significant art venues in the area is The National Gallery of Contemporary Art that is located along Rua Serpa Pinto, just a few minutes’ walk away from the Baixa-Chiado Metro Station. Also called Museu do Chiado (Chiado Museum, in english), the museum holds an extensive yet handpicked selection of Portugal art from the 19th century until today.

A visit to the Museu do Chiado delivers a vibrant and enriching perspective to Portugal culture. The paintings, sculptures and installations displayed in the Museu do Chiado’s permanent collection not only showcase the various artistic movements that mark the contemporary art scene in Portugal. More importantly, these thematically-grouped exhibits mirror the political and social changes in the modern world that continue to enrich Portugal’s interesting character and culture until today.

Walking through the galleries is akin to walking through time. Tourists can enjoy the dramatic portraits from the Romanticism period, and witness political awakening in the Neo-Realist masterpieces from the 1940s. Artworks from the 1960s and 1970s also showcase the avant-garde spirit, while artworks of the 90’s reflect global concerns.

The Chiado Museum not only highlights the artworks in it. The building’s interesting architecture is also an artwork in itself, with ceilings laced with curving accents.

Meanwhile, visitors should not miss works by international talents on display. Visitors can get to see the sculptures by French artists like Auguste Rodin and Aristide Maillol, which illustrate how cultural exchange and colonization has influenced the country’s artistic capital. Also to complement the permanent 19th-20th century collection, the Chiado Museum periodically curates temporary exhibits of recent works by local artists, to keep visitors up-to-date with latest on the art scene.

Not all of the Chiado Museum’s attractions are found within the museum walls. Right outside the building is the museum’s café that is open even to those who are not museum visitors. Sunday brunches are popular, which can be credited to the café’s filling Portuguese breakfast and the museum’s free admission policy every Sunday. Coffee also comes highly recommended, and best enjoyed while sitting at the terrace that offers a magnificent view of the Lisbon landscape.

Cafes and shops located in the area are also worth checking out. Some of the coffeehouses in the area even became some of the favorite hangouts of famous Portuguese artists.

With the art establishments and the newly constructed commercial establishments, the Chiado looks like it has indeed risen from the ashes of the tragic fire in 1988, which destroyed some of the district’s buildings and structures. After a massive renovation and rebuilding project headed by Portugal’s leading architects and artists, the area is now back to being one of the most vibrant spots in Lisbon.

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