Monastic and Conventual Art in the Modern Era in Portugal


1. To have an in-depth knowledge of the art produced within monasteries and convents between the 17th and 18th century in Portugal;
2. To understand the artistic patronage in the context of the society of the Ancien Régime and the currents of spirituality inherent to the different religious institutes;
3. To portray the conventual architecture in the framework of the barroque and in its relation to the city and the surronding territory;
4. To portray the great sculpture and gilded woodwork models as enhancing the value of interiors in terms of apparatus and magnificence;
5. To approach major themes of figurative culture conveyed by painting;
6. To apply the knowledge acquired and develop the critical capacity while preparing a research paper.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Available soon


Weekly - 3 letivas + 1 tutorial

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





1) Alves, N.M.F., A Arte da talha no Porto na época barroca. - Porto: CMP, 1989, 2 vols
2) Bazin, G., Les Palais de la foi. Le monde des monastères baroques. - Fribourg, Office du Livre, 1980-81, 2 vols.
3) Conversas à volta dos conventos (coord. Virgínia Fróis). - Évora: Casa do Sul, 2002
4) Dias, J.S. da Silva, Correntes do sentimento relgioso em Portugal: séculos XVI a XVIII. - Coimbra: Instituto de Estudos Filosóficos, 1960, 2 vols.
5) Gomes, P. Varela, Arquitectura, religião e política em Portugal no século XVII. A planta centralizada. - Porto: FAUP, 2001
6) Moura, C., A escultura de Alcobaça e a imaginária monástico-conventual (1590-1700). - Lisboa: FCSH-UNL, 2006 (tese de doutoramento)
7) Pereira, J.F., Arquitectura e escultura de Mafra. Retórica da perfeição. - Lisboa: Presença, 1994
8) Pimentel, A.F., Arquitectura e poder. O real edifício de Mafra. - Coimbra: IHA, 2012
9) Serrão, V., Josefa de Óbidos e o tempo do barroco. - Lisboa IPPC, 1991

Teaching method

Lectures given by the teacher, followed by the presentation and discussion of pre-appointed texts (from the bibliography).
Selected works, or groups of works, are also presented by students followed by seminar discussion. There will also be a final presentation and discussion in class of the research essay related to course contents written by each student (10-12 pags).

Evaluation method

The assessment of this course is therefore based on 3 elements:
1) citical review of a text selected from the bibliography (5 pags) presented and discussed in class (25%)
2) Presentation of a selected work, or groups of works (3 pags), followed by seminar discussion (25%)
3) presentation of the written research essay (10-12 pags), followed by discussion (50%)

Subject matter

1. The religious orders and the Counter-reform world in the Iberian space. Establishment, forms of spirituality and artistic expressions;
2. The conventual buildings and the Plain Architecture in the 17th century. From the differential organization of spaces to the integration of neighboring areas;
3. The barroque splendour and the great monastic and conventual complexes of barroque architecture. The Mafra convent and its repercussions.
4. Religious painting, gilded workwood and devotional sculpture. Models, typologies and aesthetic trends;
5. Retable painting and its narrative cycles in the 17th and 18th centuries. Authors, programs and achievements.