Tiles National Museum in Lisbon

The Tiles National Museum in Lisbon is a majestic testament to Portugal’s profound reverence for tile craftsmanship.

Tiles National Museum in Lisbon
Tiles National Museum in Lisbon

The Museum

The impressive Madre de Deus Convent, dating back to the 16th century, houses the museum.

Enhancing the museum’s collection, the convent’s ornate Baroque architecture provides visitors with an immersive experience.

Upon entry, visitors encounter a meticulously curated collection of centuries-old tiles.

The museum showcases Portugal’s vibrant tile tradition, displaying everything from cathedrals to historic scenes.

Exhibits trace the evolution of the “azulejo,” a traditional Portuguese tile, from Moorish art to Renaissance designs.

The museum boasts one of the world’s most extensive collections of Portuguese tiles, spanning from the 15th century to the present day.

It houses thousands of individual pieces, including decorative panels, architectural elements, and contemporary artworks.

From the convent’s rooftop terrace, visitors enjoy stunning views of Lisbon, gaining deeper insight into Portuguese tile artistry.

This unique perspective on the city’s skyline adds to the museum experience’s overall appeal.

Hand-painted tiles, Portugal
Hand-painted tiles, Portugal

About hand-painted tiles

Hand-painted “azulejos,” employing the majestic majolica technique, are crafted with intricate artistry and precision. Here’s an overview of the production process:

    • Skilled artisans begin by selecting ceramic tiles with smooth surfaces, ideal for painting. These “azulejos” serve as the canvas for the elaborate designs.
    • Talented artists conceptualize the design, drawing inspiration from cultural motifs or custom requests. They meticulously plan the layout to ensure visual coherence and aesthetic appeal.
    • Artists use fine-tipped tools to sketch the design directly onto the “azulejos”. This initial sketch guides the painting process, outlining element placement.
    • The artisan applies a base layer of majolica glaze to the tiles before painting, creating a smooth and glossy surface for the paint to adhere to.
    • Artists paint the intricate design onto the glazed surface of the “azulejos” using delicate brushes and vibrant ceramic pigments. They create depth and dimension by employing precise brushstrokes and layering techniques.
    • After painting, the tiles are left to dry completely, allowing the paint to set and cure. The duration of this process may vary depending on environmental conditions and could take several hours or even days.
    • Artisans fire the “azulejos” in a high-temperature kiln, permanently setting the paint and fortifying the ceramic material for durability.
    • After firing, artisans address any imperfections and conduct a final inspection to ensure quality assurance for the “azulejos”.
    • Skilled artisans carefully pack the approved “azulejos”. These hand-painted majolica designs can adorn walls or floors, and the packaging is done meticulously to ensure their safety during transportation.
Hand-painted tiles in the Tiles National Museum, Portugal
Hand-painted tiles in the Tiles National Museum, Portugal

In summary

Skilled artisans laboriously combine artistic skill, precision craftsmanship, and meticulous attention to detail, creating stunning hand-painted ceramic art of “azulejos”.

Our company’s “Hand Painted Tiles Tour” includes a visit to this museum.

Enjoy your visit,

David Monteiro