Art Trip : Calouste Gulbenkian museum, Lisbon, Portugal

What are we doing holed up in a dark museum while in sunny Lisbon you might ask. Well, for the record it was pretty cloudy that way, so the museum was a totally acceptable option.
Someone told me the place was really worth it if you’re a bit into architecture. Indeed it already looked quite good from the outside: a massive yet elegant concrete structure hidden in the vegetation. I’m always sensitive to museums that offer either a great display, an interesting setting or a particularly good selection. Here  it’s pretty much a homerun. That’s not a small feat if you consider the fact that most of the museum’s collection falls in the Decorative Arts category, i.e. carpets, pottery or furniture, which are traditionally displayed in the most unimaginative way.
Like I said the building itself is really pleasant, vast, but not too much, modern yet warm with dark hardwood floors inside and a big garden outside. The mood in the rooms is quite spectacular: black curtains in front of the windows are making the exotic foliage of the outside appear only in silhouettes and dim the light in a very striking way, giving illuminated spots a unique feel.  The collection in itself is really worth it, the Eastern Islamic Art in particular, but in the end the display was so masterful that even 18th century furniture was suddenly looking interesting.

Museu Calouste-Gulbenkian
The building was inaugurated in 1969 and is classified as a National Monument.

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