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Mafra National Palace

Mafra National Palace

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The Mafra National Palace is a monumental Baroque
Baroque architecture
Baroque architecture is a term used to describe the building style of the Baroque era, begun in late sixteenth century Italy, that took the Roman vocabulary of Renaissance architecture and used it in a new rhetorical and theatrical fashion, often to express the triumph of the Catholic Church and...

 and Italianized Neoclassical
Neoclassical architecture
Neoclassical architecture was an architectural style produced by the neoclassical movement that began in the mid-18th century, manifested both in its details as a reaction against the Rococo style of naturalistic ornament, and in its architectural formulas as an outgrowth of some classicizing...

 palace-monastery located in Mafra
Mafra, Portugal
Mafra is a town in Mafra Municipality in Portugal.The town is 28 km north-west from the center of Lisbon. It is mostly known for the sumptuous Palácio de Mafra , which also makes it a popular tourist destination in the Lisbon area...

, 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...

, some 28 kilometres from 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...

. Its dimensions are so huge that it dwarfs the city. The palace
Palace
A palace is a grand residence, especially a royal residence or the home of a head of state or some other high-ranking dignitary, such as a bishop or archbishop. The word itself is derived from the Latin name Palātium, for Palatine Hill, one of the seven hills in Rome. In many parts of Europe, the...

, which also served as a Franciscan
Franciscan
Most Franciscans are members of Roman Catholic religious orders founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Besides Roman Catholic communities, there are also Old Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, ecumenical and Non-denominational Franciscan communities....

 monastery
Monastery
Monastery denotes the building, or complex of buildings, that houses a room reserved for prayer as well as the domestic quarters and workplace of monastics, whether monks or nuns, and whether living in community or alone .Monasteries may vary greatly in size – a small dwelling accommodating only...

, was built during the reign of King John V (1707–1750), in consequence of a vow
Vow
A vow is a promise or oath.-Marriage vows:Marriage vows are binding promises each partner in a couple makes to the other during a wedding ceremony. Marriage customs have developed over history and keep changing as human society develops...

 made by the king in 1711, who promised to build a convent if his wife, the Queen Mary Anne of Austria
Mary Anne of Austria
Maria Anna of Austria was an Archduchess of Austria and Queen consort of Portugal. She was also Regent of Portugal from 1742 until 1750 during the illness of her husband King John V of Portugal....

, gave him descendants. The birth of his first daughter, the princess Barbara of Braganza, made the king initiate the construction of the palace. It was conveniently located for hunting in the nearby forests, and was usually a secondary residence for the royal family.

This vast complex is among the most sumptuous Baroque buildings in Portugal and one of the biggest buildings constructed in Europe in the 18th century. The palace was built symmetrically from a central axis, occupied by the basilica
Basilica
The Latin word basilica , was originally used to describe a Roman public building, usually located in the forum of a Roman town. Public basilicas began to appear in Hellenistic cities in the 2nd century BC.The term was also applied to buildings used for religious purposes...

, and continues lengthwise through the main façade
Facade
A facade or façade is generally one exterior side of a building, usually, but not always, the front. The word comes from the French language, literally meaning "frontage" or "face"....

 until two major towers. The structures of the convent are located behind the main façade. The building also includes a major library, with about 40,000 rare books.

The basilica is decorated with several Italian statues and includes six historical pipe organs and two carillon
Carillon
A carillon is a musical instrument that is typically housed in a free-standing bell tower, or the belfry of a church or other municipal building. The instrument consists of at least 23 cast bronze, cup-shaped bells, which are played serially to play a melody, or sounded together to play a chord...

s, composed of 92 bells.

Construction




The exact site was chosen in 1713 and purchased in 1716. Construction began by the laying of the first stone on November 17, 1717 with a grand ceremony in the presence of the king, his entire court and the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon.

Initially it was a relatively small project for a friary of 13 Capuchin
Order of Friars Minor Capuchin
The Order of Friars Minor Capuchin is an Order of friars in the Catholic Church, among the chief offshoots of the Franciscans. The worldwide head of the Order, called the Minister General, is currently Father Mauro Jöhri.-Origins :...

 friars, who were to observe strict poverty. However, when the flow of gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 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...

 started to arrive 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...

 in abundance, the king changed his plans and announced the construction of a sumptuous palace along with a much enlarged friary. This immense wealth allowed to king to be a generous patron of arts.

He appointed a German goldsmith Johann Friedrich Ludwig (called by the Portuguese : João Frederico Ludovice) as his architect. Ludwig had studied architecture in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 and knew contemporary Italian art. The extent of Ludwig's responsibility is unclear, as several other architects were involved in this project: the Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

ese builder Carlos Baptista Garbo, Custódio Vieira, Manuel da Maia and even his own son António. However the application of the same architectural style over the whole building suggests the work of Ludwig as the head-architect in charge of the Royal Office of Works (Real Obra).

Construction lasted 13 years and mobilized a vast army of workers from the entire country (a daily average of 15,000 but at the end climbing to 30,000 and a maximum of 45,000), under the command of António Ludovice, the son of the architect. In addition 7,000 soldiers were assigned to preserve order at the construction site. They used 400 kg of gunpowder to blast through the bedrock for the laying of foundations. There was even a hospital for the sick or wounded workers. A total of 1,383 workers died during the construction.

The facade is 220 meters long. The whole complex covers 37,790 m² with about 1,200 rooms, more than 4,700 doors and windows, and 156 stairways.

When complete the building consisted of a friary capable of sheltering 330 friars, along with a royal palace and a huge library of 40,000 books, embellished with marble
Marble
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

, exotic woods and countless artworks taken from France, Flanders and Italy, which included six monumental pipe organs and the two carillons.

The basilica and the convent were inaugurated on the day of the King's 41st birthday on October 22, 1730. The festivities lasted for 8 days and were of a scale never seen before in Portugal. The basilica was dedicated to Our Lady and to 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...

.

However the building was not finished. The lantern on the cupola was completed in 1735. Work continued till 1755, when the work force was needed in Lisbon by the devastations of the Lisbon earthquake.

History



The palace was not occupied permanently by the royalty, who considered the rooms too gloomy. Nonetheless, it was a popular destination for the members of the royal family who enjoyed hunting in the nearby game preserve, the Tapada Nacional de Mafra
Tapada Nacional de Mafra
The Tapada Nacional de Mafra was created in Mafra, Portugal, during the reign of king João V, following the building of the Mafra National Palace, as a park for royal and court recreation....

. During the reign of king John VI
John VI of Portugal
John VI John VI John VI (full name: João Maria José Francisco Xavier de Paula Luís António Domingos Rafael; (13 May 1767 – 10 March 1826) was King of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves (later changed to just King of Portugal and the Algarves, after Brazil was recognized...

 the palace was inhabited for a whole year in 1807. The king was responsible for a partial renovation of the building by some well-known artists. However, with the French invasion
Peninsular War
The Peninsular War was a war between France and the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom, and Portugal for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when French and Spanish armies crossed Spain and invaded Portugal in 1807. Then, in 1808, France turned on its...

 of Portugal, in 1808, the royal family fled to Brazil, taking with them some of the best pieces of art and furniture in the building. Marshall Junot took up residence in the palace, to be driven out in turn by Wellington.

In 1834, after the Liberal Wars
Liberal Wars
The Liberal Wars, also known as the Portuguese Civil War, the War of the Two Brothers, or Miguelite War, was a war between progressive constitutionalists and authoritarian absolutists in Portugal over royal succession that lasted from 1828 to 1834...

, Queen Maria II ordered the dissolution of the religious orders and the convent was abandoned by the Franciscans. During the last reigns of the House of Braganza
House of Braganza
The Most Serene House of Braganza , an important Portuguese noble family, ruled the Kingdom of Portugal and its colonial Empire, from 1640 to 1910...

, the palace was mainly used as a base for hunting. In 1849 the monastery part of the building was assigned to the military, a situation still in use today.

The last king of Portugal, Manuel II
Manuel II of Portugal
Manuel II , named Manuel Maria Filipe Carlos Amélio Luís Miguel Rafael Gabriel Gonzaga Francisco de Assis Eugénio de Bragança Orleães Sabóia e Saxe-Coburgo-Gotha — , was the last King of Portugal from 1908 to 1910, ascending the throne after the assassination of his father and elder brother Manuel...

, following the proclamation of the republic, left on 5 October 1910 from the palace to the nearby coastal village of Ericeira
Ericeira
Ericeira is a fishing and seaside resort town on the west coast of Portugal, in the municipality of Mafra, about 35 km north-west of the centre of Lisbon...

 on his way to exile. The palace was declared a national monument in 1907. At present, the building is conserved
Architectural conservation
Architectural conservation describes the process through which the material, historical, and design integrity of mankind's built heritage are prolonged through carefully planned interventions. The individual engaged in this pursuit is known as an architectural conservator...

 by the Portuguese Institute of the Architectonic Patrimony, which carried out several recovery programs, including the conservation of the main façade
Facade
A facade or façade is generally one exterior side of a building, usually, but not always, the front. The word comes from the French language, literally meaning "frontage" or "face"....

. A major restoration of the historical pipe organs began in the 1990s with the collaboration of foreign experts.

Façade



The imposing façade, built of local limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

, is 220 m long and faces the town of Mafra. At each end of the façade stands a square tower with a bulbous dome, such as found in Central Europe. The church, built in white marble, is located in the centre of the main façade, symmetrically flanked on both sides by the royal palace.

The king, wishing to rival the splendour of Rome, had sought architectural advice from his ambassador to the Vatican
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

, who sent him small-scale models of important Roman religious buildings. The benedictial balcony at its centre is clearly mirrored on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica
St. Peter's Basilica
The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter , officially known in Italian as ' and commonly known as Saint Peter's Basilica, is a Late Renaissance church located within the Vatican City. Saint Peter's Basilica has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world...

 in Rome. But this balcony is rather intended for the king, as a symbol of his power, than for the benedictions by a prelate
Prelate
A prelate is a high-ranking member of the clergy who is an ordinary or who ranks in precedence with ordinaries. The word derives from the Latin prælatus, the past participle of præferre, which means "carry before", "be set above or over" or "prefer"; hence, a prelate is one set over others.-Related...

.

The two church towers (68 m high) are inspired by the towers of Sant'Agnese in Agone
Sant'Agnese in Agone
Sant'Agnese in Agone is a seventeenth century Baroque church in Rome, Italy. It faces onto the Piazza Navona, one of the main urban spaces in the historic centre of the city and the site where the Early Christian Saint Agnes was martyred in the ancient Stadium of Domitian.The rebuilding of the...

 (by the Roman Baroque architect Francesco Borromini
Francesco Borromini
Francesco Borromini, byname of Francesco Castelli was an architect from Ticino who, with his contemporaries, Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Pietro da Cortona, was a leading figure in the emergence of Roman Baroque architecture.A keen student of the architecture of Michelangelo and the ruins of...

). Their two carillon
Carillon
A carillon is a musical instrument that is typically housed in a free-standing bell tower, or the belfry of a church or other municipal building. The instrument consists of at least 23 cast bronze, cup-shaped bells, which are played serially to play a melody, or sounded together to play a chord...

s contain a total of 92 church bells, founded in Antwerp. The story goes that the Flemish bell-founders were so astonished by the size of their commission, that they asked to be paid in advance. The king retorted by doubling the offered amount. These carillons constitute the largest historical collection in the world.

The two towers are connected by two rows of Corinthian
Corinthian order
The Corinthian order is one of the three principal classical orders of ancient Greek and Roman architecture. The other two are the Doric and Ionic. When classical architecture was revived during the Renaissance, two more orders were added to the canon, the Tuscan order and the Composite order...

 columns. The top row contains the statues of St. Dominic and St. Francis
Francis of Assisi
Saint Francis of Assisi was an Italian Catholic friar and preacher. He founded the men's Franciscan Order, the women’s Order of St. Clare, and the lay Third Order of Saint Francis. St...

, sculpted out of Carrara
Carrara
Carrara is a city and comune in the province of Massa-Carrara , notable for the white or blue-grey marble quarried there. It is on the Carrione River, some west-northwest of Florence....

 marble, standing in a niche on each side of the balcony. The lower row contains the statues of St. Anne and St. Elisabeth of Hungary
Elisabeth of Hungary
Elizabeth of Hungary, T.O.S.F., was a princess of the Kingdom of Hungary, Countess of Thuringia, Germany and a greatly-venerated Catholic saint. Elizabeth was married at the age of 14, and widowed at 20. She then became one of the first members of the newly-founded Third Order of St. Francis,...

.

Basilica



The church is built in the form of a Latin cross
Christian cross
The Christian cross, seen as a representation of the instrument of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, is the best-known religious symbol of Christianity...

 with a length of 63 m. It is rather narrow (16.5 m), an impression accentuated by the height of its nave
Nave
In Romanesque and Gothic Christian abbey, cathedral basilica and church architecture, the nave is the central approach to the high altar, the main body of the church. "Nave" was probably suggested by the keel shape of its vaulting...

 (21.5 m). The vestibule (Galilee porch) contains a group of large sculptures in Carrara marble, representing the patron saints of several monastic orders.

The interior makes abundantly use of local rose-coloured marble
Marble
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

, intermingled with white marble in different patterns. The multi-coloured designs of the floor are repeated on the ceiling. The barrel vault
Barrel vault
A barrel vault, also known as a tunnel vault or a wagon vault, is an architectural element formed by the extrusion of a single curve along a given distance. The curves are typically circular in shape, lending a semi-cylindrical appearance to the total design...

 rests on fluted Corinthian semicolumns standing between the side chapels. The chapels in the transept contain altarpieces in jasper made by sculptors from the School of Mafra. The side aisles display 58 marble statues commissioned from the best Roman sculptors of their time. The All Saint's chapel in the transept is screened from the crossing by iron railings with bronze ornaments, made in Antwerp.

The choir has a magnificent giant candleholder with seven lamps sprouting from the mouth of seven rolled-up snakes. Above the main altar, inserting into the ceiling, is a gigantic jasper crucifix of 4.2 m, flanked by two kneeling angels, made by the School of Mafra. The cupola over the crossing was also inspired by the cupola of Sant'Agnese in Agone
Sant'Agnese in Agone
Sant'Agnese in Agone is a seventeenth century Baroque church in Rome, Italy. It faces onto the Piazza Navona, one of the main urban spaces in the historic centre of the city and the site where the Early Christian Saint Agnes was martyred in the ancient Stadium of Domitian.The rebuilding of the...

 (by the Roman Baroque architect Francesco Borromini
Francesco Borromini
Francesco Borromini, byname of Francesco Castelli was an architect from Ticino who, with his contemporaries, Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Pietro da Cortona, was a leading figure in the emergence of Roman Baroque architecture.A keen student of the architecture of Michelangelo and the ruins of...

). This 70 m-high cupola with a small lantern
Lantern
A lantern is a portable lighting device or mounted light fixture used to illuminate broad areas. Lanterns may also be used for signaling, as 'torches', or as general light sources outdoors . Low light level varieties are used for decoration. The term "lantern" is also used more generically to...

 atop, is carried by four finely sculpted arcs in rose and white marble.

There are six organs, four of which are located in the transept, constituting a rather uncommon ensemble. There were built by Joaquim Peres Fontanes and António Xavier Machado Cerveira between 1792 and 1807 (when the French troops occupied Mafra). They were made out of partially gilded Brazilian wood. The largest pipe is 6 m high and has a diameter of 0.28 m. King John V had commissioned liturgical vestments from master embroiderer
Embroidery
Embroidery is the art or handicraft of decorating fabric or other materials with needle and thread or yarn. Embroidery may also incorporate other materials such as metal strips, pearls, beads, quills, and sequins....

s from Genoa
Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

 and Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

, such as Giuliano Saturni and Benedetto Salandri, and from France. They attest of superb quality and workmanship by their embroidering in gold technique and the use of silk thread in the same colour.

The religious paintings in the basilica and the convent constitute one of the most significant 18th century collections in Portugal. They include works by the Italians Agostino Masucci
Agostino Masucci
Agostino Masucci was an Italian painter of the late-Baroque or Rococo period.Born in Rome, he initially apprenticed with Andrea Procaccino, and then became a member of the studio of Carlo Maratta. He joined the Accademia di San Luca in 1724, and from 1736 to 1738, he was director or Principe...

, Corrado Giaquinto
Corrado Giaquinto
Corrado Giaquinto was an Italian Rococo painter.-Early training and move to Rome:He was born in Molfetta. As a boy he apprenticed with a modest local painter Saverio Porta, , escaping the religious career his parents had intended for him...

, Angelo Trevisani
Angelo Trevisani
Angelo Trevisani was an Italian painter of the late-Baroque, active mainly in Venice.He was born in Venice , the brother of Francesco Trevisani who was born in Capodistria, and who painted mainly in Rome under the patronage of cardinal Ottoboni. Angelo was a pupil of Andrea Celesti...

, Pompeo Batoni
Pompeo Batoni
Pompeo Girolamo Batoni was an Italian painter whose style incorporated elements of the French Rococo, Bolognese classicism, and nascent Neoclassicism.-Biography:He was born in Lucca, the son of a goldsmith, Paolino Batoni...

 and some Portuguese students in Rome such as Vieira Lusitano and Inácio de Oliveira Bernardes. The sculpture collection has works by almost every major Roman sculpturer from the first half of the 18th century. At that time, it represented the biggest single order done by a foreign power in Rome and still is amongst one of the biggest collections in existence.

Monastery


The rectangle behind the church and the palace houses the monastery
Monastery
Monastery denotes the building, or complex of buildings, that houses a room reserved for prayer as well as the domestic quarters and workplace of monastics, whether monks or nuns, and whether living in community or alone .Monasteries may vary greatly in size – a small dwelling accommodating only...

 of the Franciscan monks of Arrábida Order (Ordem de São Francisco da Província da Arrábida) with cells for about 300 friars in long corridors on several floors. Between 1771 and 1791 this monastery was occupied by the Hermit Friars of St. Augustine.

Royal Palace


The spacious royal apartments are situated on the second floor. The apartments of the king are situated at the end of the palace while the apartment of the queen is 200 m away at the other end. Such was this distance that, when the king left his apartment towards the apartment of the queen, this was announced to the queen by the sound of a trumpet.

As king John VI had taken with him some of the best pieces of art and furniture in the building when the royal family fled in 1808 for the advancing French troops to Brazil, most rooms had to be redecorated in the original style. The Hunting trophy
Trophy
A trophy is a reward for a specific achievement, and serves as recognition or evidence of merit. Trophies are most often awarded for sporting events, from youth sports to professional level athletics...

 room (Sala dos Troféus) is decorated with numerous skulls of deer
Deer
Deer are the ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. Species in the Cervidae family include white-tailed deer, elk, moose, red deer, reindeer, fallow deer, roe deer and chital. Male deer of all species and female reindeer grow and shed new antlers each year...

, the furniture is constructed of antlers and covered with deerskin and even the candleholders are made of deer antlers.

The Benediction Gallery (Sala da Benção) borders at the upper level of the basilica. The royal family could here attend Mass, seated at a window opening unto the basilica. The bust of John V in this hall is a work of the Italian Alessandro Giusti. The Throne Room, the Guard Room and the Room of Goddess Diana are decorated with murals by artist such as Ciryllo Wolkmar Machado, Bernardo Oliveira Góis and Vieira Lusitano.

Library



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...

 library, situated at the back of the second floor, is truly the highlight of this palace, rivalling the grandeur of the library of the Melk Abbey
Melk Abbey
Melk Abbey or Stift Melk is an Austrian Benedictine abbey, and one of the world's most famous monastic sites. It is located above the town of Melk on a rocky outcrop overlooking the river Danube in Lower Austria, adjoining the Wachau valley....

 in Austria. Built by Manuel Caetano de Sousa
Manuel Caetano de Sousa (architect)
Manuel Caetano de Sousa was a Portuguese architect. He studied architecture under his father Tomás Caetano. He worked in the late Baroque and rococo style of architecture...

, this library is 88 m long, 9.5 m wide and 13 m high. The magnificent floor is covered with tiles of rose, grey and white marble. The wooden bookshelves in Rococo style are situated on the sidewalls in two rows, separated by a balcony with a wooden railing. They contain over 35,000 leather-bound volumes, attesting of the extent of western knowledge from the 14th to the 19th century. Among them, are many valuable bibliographical jewels, such as incunabula
Incunabulum
Incunable, or sometimes incunabulum is a book, pamphlet, or broadside, that was printed — not handwritten — before the year 1501 in Europe...

. These beautiful finished volumes were bound in the local workshop (Livraria) in the rocaille style (also by Manuel Caetano de Sousa).

Besides natural techniques of conservation for the books, such as the lack of space between the wall and the book (so it doesn't create humidity
Humidity
Humidity is a term for the amount of water vapor in the air, and can refer to any one of several measurements of humidity. Formally, humid air is not "moist air" but a mixture of water vapor and other constituents of air, and humidity is defined in terms of the water content of this mixture,...

), there are also a few bat
Bat
Bats are mammals of the order Chiroptera "hand" and pteron "wing") whose forelimbs form webbed wings, making them the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight. By contrast, other mammals said to fly, such as flying squirrels, gliding possums, and colugos, glide rather than fly,...

s that inhabit this library eating any insect that could destroy this invaluable treasure.

The Library was used in Gulliver's Travels (1996)
Gulliver's Travels (TV miniseries)
Gulliver's Travels is a U.S. TV miniseries based on Jonathan Swift's novel of the same name, produced by Jim Henson Productions and Hallmark Entertainment. This miniseries is notable for being one of the very few adaptations of Swift's novel to feature all four voyages. The miniseries aired in the...

 as the Great Chamber of War for the Emperor of Lilliput.

Legends


There are several legends regarding the palace. The most popular claims that giant rat
Rat
Rats are various medium-sized, long-tailed rodents of the superfamily Muroidea. "True rats" are members of the genus Rattus, the most important of which to humans are the black rat, Rattus rattus, and the brown rat, Rattus norvegicus...

s, capable of eating people inhabit the palace and leave it at night in order to kill what they can, cats, dogs and people. The origin of this legend is the large sewer
Sanitary sewer
A sanitary sewer is a separate underground carriage system specifically for transporting sewage from houses and commercial buildings to treatment or disposal. Sanitary sewers serving industrial areas also carry industrial wastewater...

 system built below the palace. Another legend speaks about the existence of a secret tunnel, linking Mafra to Ericeira
Ericeira
Ericeira is a fishing and seaside resort town on the west coast of Portugal, in the municipality of Mafra, about 35 km north-west of the centre of Lisbon...

 and that King Manuel II used the tunnel to escape the exile and remained in Portugal.

Appearances in literature



A major reference to the construction of the palace is made in the book Baltasar and Blimunda
Baltasar and Blimunda
Baltasar and Blimunda is a novel by the Portuguese author José Saramago.It is a love story set in the 18th century with the construction of the Convent of Mafra, now one of Portugal's chief tourist attractions, as a background...

(Memorial do Convento), written by the Portuguese Nobel
Nobel Prize in Literature
Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words from the will of Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction"...

 laureate José Saramago
José Saramago
José de Sousa Saramago, GColSE was a Nobel-laureate Portuguese novelist, poet, playwright and journalist. His works, some of which can be seen as allegories, commonly present subversive perspectives on historic events, emphasizing the human factor. Harold Bloom has described Saramago as "a...

. The main character, Baltasar, born in Mafra, works in the construction of the palace. Saramago makes a detailed description of the building process, including the transport of a giant stone from the quarry to the building site, depicting it as a torture for those who helped building the palace.

Mafra School of Sculpture


The Mafra School of Sculpture was founded during the reign of king Joseph I of Portugal, successor of king John V. As the Mafra National Palace had a great need for sculptors, local and from abroad, it became the location of a 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...

 academy headed by the Italian Alessandro Giusti (1715–1799). Among the teachers were several important sculptors, such as José de Almeida (1709–1769), Claude de Laprade (1682–1738) and Giovanni Antonio da Padova (who created most of the statues for the cathedral of 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....

). The academy was awarded many commissions by the Augustinians from the monastery, resulting in the many marble statues and retable
Retable
A retable is a framed altarpiece, raised slightly above the back of the altar or communion table, on which are placed the cross, ceremonial candlesticks and other ornaments....

s in marble and jasper
Jasper
Jasper, a form of chalcedony, is an opaque, impure variety of silica, usually red, yellow, brown or green in color; and rarely blue. This mineral breaks with a smooth surface, and is used for ornamentation or as a gemstone. It can be highly polished and is used for vases, seals, and at one time for...

 in the basilica. This academy produced several generations of Portuguese sculptors, such as Joaquim Machado de Castro
Joaquim Machado de Castro
Joaquim Machado de Castro was one of Portugal's foremost sculptors. He wrote extensively on his works and the theory behind them, including a full-length discussion of the statue of D...

 (1731–1822).

See also

  • List of Baroque residences
  • Sintra National Palace
    Sintra National Palace
    The Sintra National Palace , also called Town Palace is located in the town of Sintra, in Portugal near Lisbon....

  • Ajuda National Palace
    Ajuda National Palace
    The Ajuda National Palace is a neoclassical monument in the civil parish of Ajuda in the city of Lisbon, centralPortugal. Built on the site of a temporary wooden building constructed to house the Royal family after the 1755 earthquake and tsunami, it was originally begun by architect Manuel...

  • Belém Palace
    Belém Palace
    The Belém National Palace, or alternately National Palace of Belém, has, overtime, been the official residence of Portuguese monarchs and, after the installation of the First Republic, the Presidents of the Portuguese Republic...

  • Palace of Necessidades
    Palace of Necessidades
    The Palace of Necessidades is a historical building in the Largo do Rilvas, a public square in Lisbon, Portugal...

  • Pena National Palace
    Pena National Palace
    The Pena National Palace is a Romanticist palace in São Pedro de Penaferrim, municipality of Sintra, Portugal. The palace stands on the top of a hill above the town of Sintra, and on a clear day it can be easily seen from Lisbon and much of its metropolitan area. It is a national monument and...

  • 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,...


External links