The Museum of Evora was created by decree on July 30, 1914, and endowed the following year with the spoils of archaeological and artistic objects gathered at the Public Library of Évora. In 1929 it is definitely installed in the building of the former Episcopal Hall, which opened the following year and remains. In the 1940s, under the direction of Mario Tavares Chicó, the building underwent major remodeling that gave it the current character. It reopened on 29 June 2009, after deep works of rehabilitation, according to project architect Raúl Hestnes Ferreira.
The history of Évora Museum dates back to 1804, when Frei Manuel of the Cenacle, Archbishop of Évora, inaugurated the Public Library, which also met part of their collections of Art, Archaeology and Natural artifacts.
In 1834, the management of this library passed to the Portuguese State and in 1865, two new rooms, individualized by the presentation of the art collection and Archaeology. Formally, the Evora museum would be created only after the establishment of the Republic, by decree of 1 March 1915. He received for installation some rooms of the Bishop’s Palace, however expropriated by the government, clearly insufficient for the presentation of the collections.
Once you have designed your facility in Convent Lóios would be installed in 1921 in the Palace Amaral, purchased for the purpose. In 1926, a violent earthquake degraded these facilities, forcing the return of the collections to the rooms of the Bishop’s Palace, the building where later, in exchange for the Amaral Palace, the Museum are definitely would install in 1929.
The building is located in the highest part of town, between the Cathedral and the Roman Temple. Archaeological surveys carried out in 1996 showed that under its foundations lies part of the Roman Forum floor, some rooms of the Islamic period and a zone of medieval graves, shortly after the Christian reconquest of the twelfth century.
Since the Middle Ages in this building functioned the Palace of Bishops, which acquired the current similarity in the early seventeenth century, after the work undertaken by Archbishop D. Teotónio de Bragança (1578-1602) and José de Melo (1611 to 1633). The weapons of the latter are betting the main entrance of the building. In the late eighteenth century, new works, the extent of which is unknown, called the Palace of the building of the Public Library.
Adapting the Museum had two essential components – the first in the direction of Mario Tavares Chicó (1943-1966), and the second to the basement of opening for installation of the archeology collections in 1967 and 1986. Currently, the full Project architect Raúl Hestnes Ferreira, carried out the progressive installation of the various exhibition centers.
Exhibitions of the Museum of Évora estate are largely the result of ancient archaeological collection, artistic and natural curiosities of the Archbishop Frei Manuel of the Upper Room, one of the largest Portuguese collectors of the eighteenth century. This fund reflects the own artistic themes of the old collecting: portrait, landscape and still life, where stands a good set of portraiture of the time of restoration and a core of still lifes of Baltazar Gomes Figueira and Josefa de Obidos.
The archaeological collection, we highlight the tombstones set and Roman statues from all over the Alentejo. The Museum also brings together some of the estate extinct eborenses convents and the Cathedral of Évora, forming the core of decorative arts – with pieces of furniture, vestments and jewelery – and also a significant group of medieval and Renaissance tomb sculpture.
The importance and the retrospective nature of Frei Manuel of the Cenacle painting collection was accentuated in this way, with the inclusion of nineteen boards magnificent Flemish altarpiece of the Cathedral of Évora and with the recent acquisition of a work of Álvaro Pires de Évora.
The Evora Museum reopened its doors on June 29. In this first phase are presented again to the public collections of painting, sculpture and Roman Archaeology, following the renewal of the exhibition spaces, and an important campaign of conservation and restoration of over 500 works.
Initiating our program of temporary exhibitions for the first time takes place one Luís Afonso work of exposure, the well-known cartoonist of the media, with regular papers published in the Public and Record. Of his vast work cartoons were selected related to the Culture and the Historical and Artistic Heritage in Portugal.
Evora Museum’s collections consist of about 20 thousand pieces, which highlights the painting collections, Sculpture and Archaeology.
In addition to the aesthetic value and historical importance of many works, it is unique condition in the panorama of museums in Portugal, the fact that its core comes from an eighteenth-century collection of great diversity and scope, organized by Frei Manuel of the Cenacle, Évora archbishop.
It is the system of organization of the collections, in order to articulate all fields of knowledge, which expresses thinking the Library-Museum and its didactic function in the second half of the eighteenth century in Portugal.
This initial core and this universal condition are also part of the collections Numismatic, unfortunately plundered during the French invasions, the collections of drawings and prints, and the core of Natural artifacts, where they meet various specimens of Natural Sciences.
The extinction of the religious orders contributed significantly to extend the estate, benefiting the collections of Painting and Sculpture, and Decorative Arts to the constitution several important nuclei like Goldsmith, the ceramics, furniture and textiles.
Carrying out numerous archaeological excavations during the twentieth century, mainly on the Prehistory and the Roman period, it has enriched the Museum’s collection, deepening the relationship with the history of the city and the region.
If you want to perform a more thorough research on the Evora Museum parts it has at its disposal the Matriznet where you will find a database of the collections of all museums overseen by the Institute of Museums and Conservation.