Museu Soares dos Reis: The Oldest Art Museum In Portugal
Museu Soares dos Reis is the oldest Art museum in Portugal and is located in Porto. This national museum was established in 1833 to educate and showcase art procured from monasteries and convents after they were dissolved. Today, the Museu Soares dos Reis houses a highly valuable collection of glass, ceramics, paintings, and jewelry.
The National Museum Soares dos Reis is located in the historical Carrancas Palace in Porto and turned into one of the most famous art museums in Portugal, displaying many of the masterpieces of Portuguese art. Some of the most famous are the art works by the Portuguese sculptor Antonio Soares dos Reis, to whom the museum is dedicated.
Museu Soares Dos Reis in Porto was actually set up by King Peter IV as Museu Portuense (Porto’s Museum) in 1833. Housed then, at the St. Anthony’s Convent, in the heart of the city. The exhibits of the museum were primarily religious artifacts and art pieces collected from missions and convents as well as pieces from the followers of King Peter IV’s rival, Miguel I of Portugal, who had lost to Peter IV in 1832. However, the museum made many more acquisitions during the entire 19th century, while the focus always remained the art collections.
After three decades, the museum was shifted from the city center to its current location at the ancient Carrancas Palace. Also, new and improved facilities were added, including those for the exhibits and their storage. From 1992 to 2001, the repository was renovated and expanded under the supervision of Fernando Tavora, a known architect in Porto.
The neo classical Carrancas Palace, home to the Soares dos Reis Museum was built around the turn of the 19th century as a residence and workshop for the ‘Moraes-e-Castro’ family. The design of the palace is similar to neo palladian style buildings like the St. Anthony Hospital and the Feitoria Inglesa (English Trading Post) in Porto. The interiors of the palace were designed by Luis Chiari, who used stucco and wall paintings for effect.