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Address Book: Lisbon

So far in this series, we’ve brought you breakdowns on the top addresses in art-savvy cities: the sleek balance of ancient and contemporary in Tokyo, the Dutch masters in Amsterdam, the prestige in Paris and the timeless Americana in La La Land.

Lisbon, however, isn’t typically a city known for its art, but within and beyond those quintessential yellow trams, cobble-stoned hills and endless buffets, unmissable museums and galleries sit waiting to inspire you. Discover our top 5…

National Museum of the Azulejo

Also known as the National Tile Museum, this establishment allows visitors to delve into the history of traditional Portuguese tile work. Those iconic, colorful ceramic tiles endlessly snapped by tourists in old buildings, stations and streets are collected here in a beautiful former convent. The ceramic artworks date back to the 15th century, evidence enough of the artistic talent of the Portuguese and the importance of not overlooking it.

Portugal's iconic tiles
Portugal’s famous tiles are on display at the National Tile Museum.

National Museum of Ancient Art

With over 40,000 artworks from an extensive range of mediums and styles, Portugal’s official national art museum holds one of the largest collections in the world. It’s also an historical monument in its own right, having been founded in 1884 with the primary purpose of showcasing the collections of the Portuguese Royal Family. With works by masters such as Hieronymus Bosch, Albrecht Durer and Portugal’s own Domingos Sequeira, it’s well worth making a stop at this Lisbon highlight.

The National Museum of Ancient Art's banquet room.
The National Museum of Ancient Art’s banquet room. Photo: Dguendel.

The Berardo Collection Museum

A day trip to Belém, one of Lisbon’s outer districts, typically finds prime position on any Lisbon itinerary. Visitors flock to its famous monastery, its 16th century military tower, and, most of all, to the birthplace of one of the country’s most famous exports: Pastel de nata (Portuguese custard tarts.) Among these popular destinations lies the Berardo Collection Museum, a contemporary art museum with rotating collections. On display are the works of legends such as Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock and David Hockney; whether you’re a Pop Art connoisseur or a supporter of Surrealism, it’s got something for everyone.

 The Berardo Collection Museum.
The Berardo Collection Museum.

National Coach Museum

This author’s personal favorite, Lisbon’s National Coach Museum sheds light on an overlooked art form: horse-drawn carriages that transported some of the world’s most famous figures during the 16th to 19th centuries. From Portugal’s own immaculate designs to Germany’s industrial-esque structures and France’s endlessly gold decorations, this museum allows visitors to travel back in time in serious style.

The National Coach Museum.
The National Coach Museum.

Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT)

Rounding off our Lisbon list is Portugal’s trendy new museum, a fusion of art, technology and culture that opened in 2016. Its sleek ship-like design evokes dreams of futuristic space adventures, while the former power station that makes up part of its structure gives it a sense of 20th-century nostalgia. From exhibitions that investigate the smartphone era to tours of the old power station, MAAT’s aim to offer the old and new in a polished partnership appears to be coming to fruition.

The MAAT.
The MAAT. Susanne Nilsson, 2017.

While our spotlight is on Portugal, discover some of Singulart’s talents from the stunning southern European nation:

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