National Museum of Contemporary Art – Chiado Museum, Lisbon

The National Museum of Contemporary Art, also known as Chiado Museum, is a prime Lisbon attraction. Founded in 1911 and renovated in 1994, it represents art from native Portuguese artists and other European artists like Rodin from the mid-19th century to the present. It is well known for its extensive collection of paintings from Portugal's Romantic, Natural, and Modern periods of art.

There are both temporary and permanent exhibits at the museum. Most of the permanent exhibits are from native Portuguese artists, though this is not always the case. Other European museums loan their collections from their own famous modern artists to the Chiado Museum quite regularly.

The museum is housed in a section of the medieval Convent of São Francisco. Much of the medieval architecture and original features can still be seen even after the 1994 renovation by Jean-Michel Wilmotte, an architect from France. The renovations were only done in the museum part of the convent, so a bit of exploration past the museum and into the convent proper will reveal much more in the way of medieval architecture for those who are interested in it.

The museum's permanent exhibits are always in the same place. There is a special room for temporary exhibits and usually advertising accompanies these traveling exhibits so the public knows they are there to come see. The museum has a cafe on site that anyone can patronize whether they are visiting the museum or not. It is known for having good food and is a nice place to look at the museum even without going inside. However, a nice day at the museum can be had on Sundays, when brunch is served in the cafe and admission to the museum is free until 2 pm.

There is a lovely atrium at the museum that acts as a visitor reception area and is the first thing guests see when they come inside the building. The atrium has a very modern design, to fit the theme of modern art at the museum. However, it also incorporates some of the original medieval features of the building in beautiful ways. Upon entering, one will know immediately that this place is both modern and ancient and celebrates both in a way that is uniquely Portuguese. Even if one is not a fan of modern art, there is still much to love about the Chiado Museum, which makes it an essential inclusion for any visit to Lisbon.


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