Gilded woodcarving

Gilded woodcarving

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Gilded woodcarving

Gilded woodcarving in Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 is, along with the tile
Tile
A tile is a manufactured piece of hard-wearing material such as ceramic, stone, metal, or even glass. Tiles are generally used for covering roofs, floors, walls, showers, or other objects such as tabletops...

, one of its most original and rich artistic expressions. It is usually used in the internal decoration of churches and cathedrals, but also as part of the decoration of noble halls in palaces and large public buildings, there existing an impressive collection of altarpieces in Portuguese churches. Starting during the Gothic era, it assumes nationalistic character in the course of the seventeenth century and the maximum splendour in the reign of King D. João V. In the nineteenth century it loses its meaning, becoming a copy of past models to, finally, disappear with the end of the revival era.

Gilded woodcarving is a very impressive and quite simple way to turn a plain space into a place of luxury and ostentation, because wood is easily carved and covered with gold leaf. The result is a cheaper and more impressive work than that achieved with other technically more demanding types of decoration, such as sculpture or painting, and it reflects the taste of the time. The cost of the decorative structure is cheaper than the price to pay for the same type of work in another kind of decoration (except for the tile) because the amount of gold required is relatively small. It does not call for an artist with the specific training of a sculptor or a painter (however, most of their work turns out to have the same quality), and the final result is surprisingly good and reasonably priced. The forms are copied and adapted from decorative architecture and inspiration taken from the books circulating in all of Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, that disseminated the news from the art world, but during the seventeenth century a typically Portuguese vocabulary is developed. After being transported to the empire, it adapts to the local traditions and artists capacities, as is visible in Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 or in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 – mainly in Goa
Goa
Goa , a former Portuguese colony, is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in South West India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its...

.

It is very common for woodcarving artists to take commissions from regional orders to guarantee the activity of their workshop, sometimes making several related works in a specific geographical area. Truly remarkable examples have reached us, confirming the prestige of the creators of several magnificent altarpieces from northern to southern Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

. There are also many examples in colour, white or natural wood, but without the visual impact of the gilded ones. The golden altar was almost magic to the senses, giving an idea of holiness and richness unattainable in normal people’s lives. Their association with painting
Painting
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

 or the tile
Tile
A tile is a manufactured piece of hard-wearing material such as ceramic, stone, metal, or even glass. Tiles are generally used for covering roofs, floors, walls, showers, or other objects such as tabletops...

 allows more complex decorative programs thus increasing or decreasing the price of the contract.

Gothic, and Renaissance Manueline


The evolution of the woodwork and gilded woodcarving in Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 has had a very interesting journey. It starts during the Gothic period following architectural models, taken mainly from sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

 and goldsmithery, using the decorative vocabulary of the style. Gothic arches, pinnacle
Pinnacle
A pinnacle is an architectural ornament originally forming the cap or crown of a buttress or small turret, but afterwards used on parapets at the corners of towers and in many other situations. The pinnacle looks like a small spire...

s, columns, etc., are associated with sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

 or painting
Painting
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

, without standing on their own as will later be done. It’s a wooden structure, with the gold carving kept for the architectural part of the “machine” and leaving the rest of the elements either in plain wood or covered with colour. In spite of the small number of altar-pieces which have reached our days, the overwhelming majority was replaced during the Baroque, it is known that they followed the international taste, such as the main altarpiece
Altarpiece
An altarpiece is a picture or relief representing a religious subject and suspended in a frame behind the altar of a church. The altarpiece is often made up of two or more separate panels created using a technique known as panel painting. It is then called a diptych, triptych or polyptych for two,...

 in the old Cathedral of Coimbra
Coimbra
Coimbra is a city in the municipality of Coimbra in Portugal. Although it served as the nation's capital during the High Middle Ages, it is better-known for its university, the University of Coimbra, which is one of the oldest in Europe and the oldest academic institution in the...

 (the only city in Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 boasting 2 cathedrals).

The Manueline, too, follows the vocabulary of architecture, using mainly the portal structure, giving great importance to the heraldic, armillary sphere
Armillary sphere
An armillary sphere is a model of objects in the sky , consisting of a spherical framework of rings, centred on Earth, that represent lines of celestial longitude and latitude and other astronomically important features such as the ecliptic...

, Cross of Christ, and some sculpted naturalistic elements. The main examples, altarpiece
Altarpiece
An altarpiece is a picture or relief representing a religious subject and suspended in a frame behind the altar of a church. The altarpiece is often made up of two or more separate panels created using a technique known as panel painting. It is then called a diptych, triptych or polyptych for two,...

 and Choir Stalls, from Convent of the Order of Christ
Convent of the Order of Christ
The Convent of the Order of Christ is a religious building and Roman Catholic building in Tomar, Portugal, originally a Templar stronghold built in the 12th century...

 in Tomar
Tomar
Tomar Municipality has a total area of 351.0 km² and a total population of 43,007 inhabitants.The municipality is composed of 16 parishes, and is located in Santarém District...

 and Monastery of Alcobaça
Monastery of Alcobaça
The Alcobaça Monastery is a Mediaeval Roman Catholic Monastery located in the town of Alcobaça, in central Portugal. It was founded by the first Portuguese King, Afonso Henriques, in 1153, and maintained a close association with the Kings of Portugal throughout its history.The church and monastery...

, have disappeared, but there remains the monumental Choir Stalls from Santa Cruz Monastery
Santa Cruz Monastery
The Santa Cruz Monastery, The Santa Cruz Monastery, The Santa Cruz Monastery, (English: Monastery of the Holy Cross, Portuguese: Mosteiro de Santa Cruz, best known as Igreja (Church) de Santa Cruz is a National Monument in Coimbra, Portugal. Because the first two kings of Portugal are buried in the...

 in Coimbra
Coimbra
Coimbra is a city in the municipality of Coimbra in Portugal. Although it served as the nation's capital during the High Middle Ages, it is better-known for its university, the University of Coimbra, which is one of the oldest in Europe and the oldest academic institution in the...

. The wood gilt follows the structure of northern Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, fixed with the Portuguese aesthetic at the time, made by the Flemish master Machim.

The Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 continues to follow the architectural decoration, but there is no longer the issue of using golden carving, associating painting
Painting
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

 and sculpture, and following the classic imaginary, widely known from books of the time. Again the carved decoration in wood is very close to the intended stone forms, visible in portals, tomb
Tomb
A tomb is a repository for the remains of the dead. It is generally any structurally enclosed interment space or burial chamber, of varying sizes...

s or even in goldsmithery. The existence of a large altarpiece
Altarpiece
An altarpiece is a picture or relief representing a religious subject and suspended in a frame behind the altar of a church. The altarpiece is often made up of two or more separate panels created using a technique known as panel painting. It is then called a diptych, triptych or polyptych for two,...

 in stone or painting did not allow the development of the woodcarving as an autonomous form of expression, keeping it as a decorative art, in support of more erudite expressions. It is necessary to wait for Mannerism
Mannerism
Mannerism is a period of European art that emerged from the later years of the Italian High Renaissance around 1520. It lasted until about 1580 in Italy, when a more Baroque style began to replace it, but Northern Mannerism continued into the early 17th century throughout much of Europe...

 to develop the necessary conditions for autonomous gilded woodcarving to arise.

Mannerism


A number of factors, including some of economic order, leads to the expansion of the gilt woodcarving during the Mannerist era. The economic crisis at the end of the sixteenth century, the growing importance of the Jesuits, the loss of the spices trade and, finally, the death of the king D. Sebastião in Alcácer Quibir, cause a gradual reduction of the economical resources and therefore the reduction of major programmes of expensive painting
Painting
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

 and sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

, because they are considered a major art, and more subject to the rules imposed by the Council of Trent
Council of Trent
The Council of Trent was the 16th-century Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church. It is considered to be one of the Church's most important councils. It convened in Trent between December 13, 1545, and December 4, 1563 in twenty-five sessions for three periods...

. Woodcarving was the perfect decorative type for a time torn between the economic crisis and the crisis of values, a consequence of the rupture between Catholics and Protestants. In spite of being cheaper, it is dazzling - giving the idea of wealth - and adapts itself perfectly to all directives of the Catholic Church, while essentially exploring the architectural form. The altarpiece
Altarpiece
An altarpiece is a picture or relief representing a religious subject and suspended in a frame behind the altar of a church. The altarpiece is often made up of two or more separate panels created using a technique known as panel painting. It is then called a diptych, triptych or polyptych for two,...

 becomes a composition of architectural character, often designed by architects and, subsequently, adapted by the artist to his (more or less) technical skill, covered in gold leaf, receiving some painting
Painting
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

 and / or sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

 (certainly less than would be necessary without the woodcarving), completely covering the wall it was designed for and operating, basically, as a luxurious frame
Frame
A frame is a structural system that supports other components of a physical construction.Frame may also refer to:-Engineering & construction:* A-Frame, a basic structure designed to bear a load in a lightweight economical manner...

. However, it was then that woodcarving gained autonomy and left the simple task of framing works of art. These were placed in niches, assuming a major role.

The set is built into floors, like buildings, with several kinds of solutions. There is also the possibility of different combinations, like triumph arches with sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

, usually in the choir, allowing the space behind the altarpiece, also very decorated, to be seen. Among this type of altarpieces, are the fundamental and monumental altarpieces of the choir at Church of São Domingos de Benfica and Church of Luz in Carnide - Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

. If the altarpiece of Benfica is the absolute erudite example, with elegant classical forms and few paintings, keeping the gilded woodcarvings as a central element of the structure, the Carnide altarpiece
Altarpiece
An altarpiece is a picture or relief representing a religious subject and suspended in a frame behind the altar of a church. The altarpiece is often made up of two or more separate panels created using a technique known as panel painting. It is then called a diptych, triptych or polyptych for two,...

, executed by Francisco Venegas with the collaboration of Diogo Teixeira, is the example of the splendour of painting, without reducing the artistic value of woodcarving.

The main altarpiece
Altarpiece
An altarpiece is a picture or relief representing a religious subject and suspended in a frame behind the altar of a church. The altarpiece is often made up of two or more separate panels created using a technique known as panel painting. It is then called a diptych, triptych or polyptych for two,...

 of Church of São Roque in Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

 belongs to another group, typical of the Jesuitical churches (São Roque in Lisbon is the head of the series for the whole Portuguese empire) , characterized by its high quality decoration, well structured lines, with clear classical references, several floors, columns and well compartmentalised spaces. The scheme will be much repeated in Jesuitical churches. The Cathedral of Portalegre exhibits an important variation of this scheme. The painting altarpiece
Altarpiece
An altarpiece is a picture or relief representing a religious subject and suspended in a frame behind the altar of a church. The altarpiece is often made up of two or more separate panels created using a technique known as panel painting. It is then called a diptych, triptych or polyptych for two,...

 is framed by an elegantly classic set of columns, relief
Relief
Relief is a sculptural technique. The term relief is from the Latin verb levo, to raise. To create a sculpture in relief is thus to give the impression that the sculpted material has been raised above the background plane...

s and sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

, causing an effect opposite to the other. There are numerous important altarpieces in Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 (mainly), Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 and Goa
Goa
Goa , a former Portuguese colony, is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in South West India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its...

 worthy of reference.

The Baroque


It is the most monumental phase of the woodwork in Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 and Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

. The examples are numerous and of high quality on both sides of the Atlantic.

With the end of 60 years of forced Iberian unification, under the government of the Spanish kings Felipe II, III and IV, the restoration of the independence in 1640, and subsequent war, woodcarving in Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 is forced to detach itself from the Spanish baroque models. At difficult economic times, woodcarving gains in meaning, as sculpture and painting are drastically reduced in the altarpieces, leaving behind the classical inspiration models, taken from the international books arriving to the country through Spain (consequently Spanish), and trying to develop a national approach. It turns to Portuguese art and produces the "national style". The inspiration is clearly taken from Romanesque
Romanesque architecture
Romanesque architecture is an architectural style of Medieval Europe characterised by semi-circular arches. There is no consensus for the beginning date of the Romanesque architecture, with proposals ranging from the 6th to the 10th century. It developed in the 12th century into the Gothic style,...

 and Manueline
Manueline
The Manueline, or Portuguese late Gothic, is the sumptuous, composite Portuguese style of architectural ornamentation of the first decades of the 16th century, incorporating maritime elements and representations of the discoveries brought from the voyages of Vasco da Gama and Pedro Álvares Cabral...

  portals. The set of archivolts reminds you of the first while the decoration has much in common with the naturalistic Manueline
Manueline
The Manueline, or Portuguese late Gothic, is the sumptuous, composite Portuguese style of architectural ornamentation of the first decades of the 16th century, incorporating maritime elements and representations of the discoveries brought from the voyages of Vasco da Gama and Pedro Álvares Cabral...

 style.
The altarpiece
Altarpiece
An altarpiece is a picture or relief representing a religious subject and suspended in a frame behind the altar of a church. The altarpiece is often made up of two or more separate panels created using a technique known as panel painting. It is then called a diptych, triptych or polyptych for two,...

 is like a powerful machine, built with concentric archivolts, classical spiral columns (pseudo salomonic), platforms and throne. The decoration is very naturalistic, based mainly on leaves, disperse, and covering, the whole set, in perfect harmony with angels and birds. The altarpiece
Altarpiece
An altarpiece is a picture or relief representing a religious subject and suspended in a frame behind the altar of a church. The altarpiece is often made up of two or more separate panels created using a technique known as panel painting. It is then called a diptych, triptych or polyptych for two,...

 is undoubtedly Baroque, although presenting characteristics clearly opposed to the Spanish models. Again, at a time of economic difficulty, gilded woodcarving gives an image of splendour, in an economical way, contributing to the Portuguese cause.

It is not in vain that King D. João V is called the Magnificent. Iberian peace, and the discovery of the Brazilian gold and diamonds make Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

, suddenly, the richest country in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, allowing for the full development of the international Baroque art in all forms. Gilded woodcarving is no exception. In the reign of King D. João V the Portuguese taste is adjusted to international models and takes a particular shape baptised "Joanina." It converts the archivolts to trim cut, incorporates sculpture-like angels, garlands, vegetal-like forms, birds and architectural elements. It keeps the spiral columns, gallery and throne. The decor is suggestive of sculpture and spreads throughout the church, reaching the extreme of literally covering every available surface - vaults, walls, columns, arches and pulpits. There are notable examples scattered from north to south, Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

, but the main ones are, undoubtedly, the Church of São Francisco (Porto) and Church of Santa Clara (Porto). Both were completely covered in baroque gilded woodcarving giving it the look of a golden cave. In spite of Santa Clara being more elegant, São Francisco, a Gothic building, is surprising, boasting a better use of the space. It is also important to know that the huge list of artistic patrimony in Porto
Porto
Porto , also known as Oporto in English, is the second largest city in Portugal and one of the major urban areas in the Iberian Peninsula. Its administrative limits include a population of 237,559 inhabitants distributed within 15 civil parishes...

 includes a large number of absolutely remarkable churches. The most significant examples are the following for their importance and quality:
  • Monastery of Arouca
    Monastery of Arouca
    The Monastery of Arouca is located in the town of Arouca, in Portugal. The original construction was erected in the 10th century. Only some stones of this construction remain and were built into a wall of nowadays monastery, built during the 17th and 18th centuries....

    . A masterpiece.
  • Sacrário of Monastery of Alcobaça
    Monastery of Alcobaça
    The Alcobaça Monastery is a Mediaeval Roman Catholic Monastery located in the town of Alcobaça, in central Portugal. It was founded by the first Portuguese King, Afonso Henriques, in 1153, and maintained a close association with the Kings of Portugal throughout its history.The church and monastery...

    . Astonishing room.
  • Igreja da Pena em Lisboa – main altar.
  • Igreja de Santa Catarina em Lisboa – main altar.
  • Igreja do convento de Nossa Senhora da Conceição de Marvila in Lisbon.
  • Madre de Deus convent in Lisbon. A masterpiece.
  • Oporto Cathedral
    Oporto Cathedral
    The Porto Cathedral , located in the historical centre of the city of Porto, Portugal, is one of the city's oldest monuments and one of the most important Romanesque monuments in Portugal...

     – main altar .
  • Igreja de Santo Idelfonso no Porto – main altar.
  • Church of Monastery of São Bento da Vitória in Oporto – main altar. *Church of São Francisco (Porto) – a golden cave. Astonishing masterpiece.
  • Church of Santa Clara (Porto) – a golden cave. Amazing.
  • Braga Cathedral
    Braga Cathedral
    The Cathedral of Braga is one of the most important monuments in the city of Braga, in Northern Portugal. Due to its long history and artistic significance it is also one of the most important buildings in the country.-History:...

     – monumental organs.
  • Mosteiro de Jesus of Aveiro.
  • Igreja de Santo António of Lagos – Choir.


It’s important to make a reference to the guild woodcarving pomp carriages of the king D. João V, among which are the three baroque carriages of the embassy from D. João V to the pope, now in the Museu Nacional dos Coches The National Carriages Museum, in Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

. Absolutely extraordinary. It’s a set of three carriages full of fantasy, like a baroque ideal vision.

The Rococo


The succession of King D. JoãoV is guaranteed by his son King D. José. The abundance of resources keeps sustaining the politics of splendour, based in the diamonds and precious metals from Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, allowing for an architecture of luxury and modern decorative programmes, after Rococo
Rococo
Rococo , also referred to as "Late Baroque", is an 18th-century style which developed as Baroque artists gave up their symmetry and became increasingly ornate, florid, and playful...

.

In spite of it being a time of splendour, Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 survives the worst natural catastrophe in the history of the country and one of the worst in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 - the 1755 Lisbon earthquake
1755 Lisbon earthquake
The 1755 Lisbon earthquake, also known as the Great Lisbon Earthquake, was a megathrust earthquake that took place on Saturday 1 November 1755, at around 9:40 in the morning. The earthquake was followed by fires and a tsunami, which almost totally destroyed Lisbon in the Kingdom of Portugal, and...

.

The Rococo
Rococo
Rococo , also referred to as "Late Baroque", is an 18th-century style which developed as Baroque artists gave up their symmetry and became increasingly ornate, florid, and playful...

 gilded woodcarving is subdivided into several parallel currents or regional styles, allowing it to maintain a stamp of variety and originality, from north to south, Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

.

It is difficult to classify all these variations, because all are clearly Rococo
Rococo
Rococo , also referred to as "Late Baroque", is an 18th-century style which developed as Baroque artists gave up their symmetry and became increasingly ornate, florid, and playful...

 but, based on the most used stylistic elements, it is possible to define the main ones. Shells, angels, volutes, leaves, puti, columns, spiral columns (pseudo-salomonic), painted materials and a lot of gold are its formal vocabulary.

So there are two major locations in the area of Lisbon. Some works are clearly around the royal house, characterized by elegance and the quality of the decorative motives. There remain some influences from the Joanina woodcarving, but with the Rococo
Rococo
Rococo , also referred to as "Late Baroque", is an 18th-century style which developed as Baroque artists gave up their symmetry and became increasingly ornate, florid, and playful...

 vocabulary, and several influences from the famous chapel of São João Baptista in the Church of São Roque in Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

, full of semi precious stones, with an echo in the painted materials. Among the abundant production, the following are the main orientation lines in the Lisbon influence area:
  • Chapel of the Queluz National Palace
    Queluz National Palace
    The Queluz National Palace is a Portuguese 18th-century palace located at Queluz, a freguesia of the modern-day Sintra Municipality, in the Lisbon District. One of the last great Rococo buildings to be designed in Europe, the palace was conceived as a summer retreat for Dom Pedro of Braganza,...

     – With painted materials simulating colour marbles, some gilded woodcarving, very elegant with a classic touch. It is a very colourful set.
  • Main altar in Madre de Deus convent in Lisbon - With Joanina influence, keeping gallery and throne, it has the typical vocabulary of Rococo
    Rococo
    Rococo , also referred to as "Late Baroque", is an 18th-century style which developed as Baroque artists gave up their symmetry and became increasingly ornate, florid, and playful...

    , classic columns, less full than the Baroque
    Baroque
    The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

     altarpieces, elegant and refined. It is completely golden and perfectly integrated in the building. Absolutely remarkable gilded woodcarving and eighteenth-century tile
    Tile
    A tile is a manufactured piece of hard-wearing material such as ceramic, stone, metal, or even glass. Tiles are generally used for covering roofs, floors, walls, showers, or other objects such as tabletops...

    . A masterpiece.


At the same time, also in Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

, the pombaline churches develop a different type of altar. At this point, the spirit of the earthquake reconstruction, which consists of prefabricated materials produced outside the cit, and assembled on-site, is present. These buildings have internal Rococo
Rococo
Rococo , also referred to as "Late Baroque", is an 18th-century style which developed as Baroque artists gave up their symmetry and became increasingly ornate, florid, and playful...

 decoration, painted materials in wood and plaster, gallery and throne in the main altar , columns, architectural forms, a few golden shapes, some painting (the work of Pedro Alexandrino de Carvalho is the most important) and sculpture. The spaces are pleasant, full of light and, despite their pre-manufactured construction, completely Rococo
Rococo
Rococo , also referred to as "Late Baroque", is an 18th-century style which developed as Baroque artists gave up their symmetry and became increasingly ornate, florid, and playful...

. Among all the constructions the following buildings are of particular importance: Church of Santo António of Lisbon (built in the birth place of St. Anthony
Anthony of Padua
Anthony of Padua or Anthony of Lisbon, O.F.M., was a Portuguese Catholic priest and friar of the Franciscan Order. Though he died in Padua, Italy, he was born to a wealthy family in Lisbon, Portugal, which is where he was raised...

), Church of the Encarnação, Magdalena Church, Basilica of Nossa Senhora dos Mártires and many others. Keeping the aesthetic decorative vocabulary and pre-fabricated elements, the desire for originality is quite obvious. In less destroyed buildings, the aim was to harmonise the pombaline shapes with existing decor.

Finally, mainly in Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

, we can see the profane French influence current present in the rest of Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

. It is characterized by sumptuous decorations in gilded woodcarvings and/or plaster simulating materials, normally inside palaces, very popular among the aristocracy, in the French fashion, of which the main example is the throne room of the Queluz National Palace
Queluz National Palace
The Queluz National Palace is a Portuguese 18th-century palace located at Queluz, a freguesia of the modern-day Sintra Municipality, in the Lisbon District. One of the last great Rococo buildings to be designed in Europe, the palace was conceived as a summer retreat for Dom Pedro of Braganza,...

.

In the area of Coimbra
Coimbra
Coimbra is a city in the municipality of Coimbra in Portugal. Although it served as the nation's capital during the High Middle Ages, it is better-known for its university, the University of Coimbra, which is one of the oldest in Europe and the oldest academic institution in the...

 there is a regional school started with the main altarpiece of the Church of the Monastery of Santa Cruz. Structures are undoubtedly Rococo
Rococo
Rococo , also referred to as "Late Baroque", is an 18th-century style which developed as Baroque artists gave up their symmetry and became increasingly ornate, florid, and playful...

, with its own unique characteristics, where the pombaline influence is obvious in painted marbles, columns, gallery and throne. At the same time, it still reminds you of the "Joanina" woodkarving, mainly in the upper conclusion, with cute fronton and angel-like sculptures.

The north of Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

, develops an impressive list of Rococo
Rococo
Rococo , also referred to as "Late Baroque", is an 18th-century style which developed as Baroque artists gave up their symmetry and became increasingly ornate, florid, and playful...

 altarpieces, with unique characteristics, because of the fusion achieved between Rococo
Rococo
Rococo , also referred to as "Late Baroque", is an 18th-century style which developed as Baroque artists gave up their symmetry and became increasingly ornate, florid, and playful...

 and the splendour of the earlier baroque, called “Joanino”, mastered with quality and originality. It is possible to typify it this way: completely golden, associated with painting or sculpture, constructed with the entire vocabulary of the style and without the references typical of Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

.

Around Braga
Braga
Braga , a city in the Braga Municipality in northwestern Portugal, is the capital of the Braga District, the oldest archdiocese and the third major city of the country. Braga is the oldest Portuguese city and one of the oldest Christian cities in the World...

, thanks to the work of André Soares
André Soares
André Soares Ribeiro da Silva, more commonly known as André Soares was a leading Portuguese sculptor and architect active in Northern Portugal during the 18th century....

 there comes up another regional school of high quality and variety, characterized by the fusion of colour and gold, in altarpieces of great elegance and quality. Sometimes it already shows small notes denoting classic influences or announcing the approaching Classicism
Classicism
Classicism, in the arts, refers generally to a high regard for classical antiquity, as setting standards for taste which the classicists seek to emulate. The art of classicism typically seeks to be formal and restrained: of the Discobolus Sir Kenneth Clark observed, "if we object to his restraint...

.

In northern Portugal there stand out, among many others, the following works:
  • Church of the Monastery of Tibães
    Monastery of Tibães
    The Monastery of St Martin of Tibães is a monastery situated in the parish of Mire de Tibães, near Braga, in northern Portugal. It was the mother house of the Benedictine order in Portugal and Brazil, and it is known for the exuberant Rococo decoration of its church.-History:The first information...

     – Main altarpiece, arch of triumph and monumental organ.
  • Carmo Church (Porto) - Chapel.
  • Church of Nossa Senhora da Vitória (Porto) – Main altarpiece.
  • Church of Santa Maria Madalena (Braga) - called Chapel of Falperra – Main altarpiece.


In southern Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 the woodcarving is less common because of the abundance of marbles which called for no need to develop timber structures imitating marble.. Yet there are notable examples in the Alentejo and Algarve, which are different from the rest of the country. This originality is particularly visible in Évora
Évora
Évora is a municipality in Portugal. It has total area of with a population of 55,619 inhabitants. It is the seat of the Évora District and capital of the Alentejo region. The municipality is composed of 19 civil parishes, and is located in Évora District....

, in
  • Convent of Carmo (Évora)
  • Convent of Remédios (Évora) - Absolutely remarkable.
  • Convent of São José (Évora)
  • Church of Mercês (Évora)
  • São Francisco Church (Faro) - Remarkable mixture of gilded woodcarving and tile.


It is fundamental to make a reference to the woodcarving in the carriages of apparatus of this time. The reign of Queen D. Maria I produces the latest major examples of carriages of apparatus, following the Baroque pomp tradition, but Rococo
Rococo
Rococo , also referred to as "Late Baroque", is an 18th-century style which developed as Baroque artists gave up their symmetry and became increasingly ornate, florid, and playful...

, currently in the Museu Nacional dos Coches The National Carriages Museum, in Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

.

Neoclassicism


Neoclassicism
Neoclassicism
Neoclassicism is the name given to Western movements in the decorative and visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture that draw inspiration from the "classical" art and culture of Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome...

 it's the end of the high quality woodcarving in Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

. Because the number of churches built was close to zero at the time, the examples are very rare. They follow the classical Roman models and, because it was fundamental to respect the classic architectural orders, they lose their originality. Still there are some noteworthy examples such as the Church of Ordem Terceira de São Francisco and the altar of Church of Lapa (Porto), among others. Indeed Portugal did not really feel the lack of Neoclassicism because the pombaline was very close. Another important factor is the escape of real family to Brazil, during the French invasion, where the country (it was the United Kingdom of Portugal and Brazil) will concentrate most artistic investments. Seventeen years later, when the King returns, Romanticism was already installed and gilded woodcarving had lost all its meaning and originality, overwhelmed by the revivalist fashion.