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The Palace is the great monument that grows in the town centre and accentuates its character

Vítor Serrão, Art historian

Everything in Sintra is divine There is no corner that is not a poem

Eça de Queirós, Os Maias, 1888

Vergílio Ferreira,

I give and bestow upon you, Queen Isabel my wife, for all the days in your life, my towns of Sintra

Rei Dom Dinis, last quarter of the 13th century

Two domed chimneys, dominated the whole building

Hans Christian Andersen, A Visit to Portugal, 1866

Collections In Focus – National Palace of Sintra

Collections in Focus represents a digital publishing initiative from Parques de Sintra with the objective of highlighting and raising the profile of the results of research and studies on the objects, characters and themes surrounding the collections of the National Palaces of Sintra, Queluz and Pena as well as other collections interconnecting with the experiences of the royal family in these environments.

ISBN of the collection: 978-989-99815-1-5



Number 1:

Portrait of a young nobleman, knight of the order of Calatrava [available soon]

Painting held in the collections of the Royal House, endowed to the National Palace of Sintra in the final phase of the monarchy.

Author: Fernando Montesinos (historian of art and museologist, conserver at the National Palace of Sintra)

Publisher: Parques de Sintra, 2017

ISBN: 978-989-98669-8-0

The first edition in the ‘Collections in Focus’ series approaches a court portrait that joined the collections of the Royal House under the title of “Portrait of King Sebastião”. This identification came in for challenges from an early date and while Portugal was still a monarchy. The alteration in the official title to “Portrait of a young nobleman, knight of the order of Calatrava” dates back to 2006 in conjunction with the attribution of the painting to Juan Pantoja de la Cruz (c.1553-1608), the leading portrait artist to the Spanish court in the late 16th and early 17th centuries under the reign of King Felipe III (Filipe II of Portugal). This is a leading work in the National Palace of Sintra collection and about which their persist many questions and doubts.

This richly illustrated publication provides the necessary vision of everything surrounding the history of the portrait, furthermore explaining the reasons behind particular affirmations, interpretations and hypotheses. The associated research and studies have enabled an approximation to this portrait based upon different perspectives and contexts and thereby achieving the objectives set for the project, in particular:

• Confirming this as the work of Juan Pantoja de la Cruz;
• Identifying the person depicted in a conclusive fashion based upon the relationship with another identical and already identified portrait by Pantoja de la Cruz;
• Detailing the family ties of the figure portrayed with the Portuguese and Spanish nobility and royalty through genealogic study;
• Proposing a date, location and context for the production of the painting;
• Analysing the portrait from the iconographic point of view in keeping with the events surrounding its commissioning and the portrait codes prevailing at that time;
• Restoring part of the memory of portraits circulating prior to the entry into the collections of the Royal House and correspondingly conveying the ties between these works and European collectionism of the second half of the 19th century ;
• Reconstituting the chronology underlying the acquisition process and the means of the painting’s arrival in Portugal;
• Identifying the participants in the acquisition process as well as the date, location and price of purchase;
• Confirming the role of Queen Maria Pia as key to bringing about this purchase;
• Setting out the reasons behind the incorporation of the painting into the royal collections as the “Portrait of King Sebastião”.

The first edition in the ‘Collections in Focus’ series counted upon the collaboration of the Norton Simon Museum (Pasadena, California) and the Prado National Museum (Madrid).

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