Baroque architecture

Church ofSão Francisco
Photo:  Museu da Ordem Terceira da Igreja de S. FranciscoCC BY-NC-SA - Some Rights Reserved

Baroque is reflected in Porto in innumerable expressive buildings of civil and religious architecture. Architects such as António Pereira and Nicolau Nasoni gave the city some of the most representative examples of this style, calling forth a complete transformation of the urban landscape in the seventeen hundreds. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries the city resembled a “workshop” of artists and craftsmen, who produced a significant collection of works of high aesthetic value.

The virtuosity of Nicolau Nasoni, an Italian artist who studied in Sienna and Rome, is mostly shown in the art he used to work with granite, in buildings such as the Church and Tower of Clérigos, the façade of the Church of Misericórdia and the Freixo Palace.

The Cathedral, of Romanesque origin, was one of the first buildings to undergo baroque adaptations, as can be seen in the main altar, crypt, vestry and cloisters. One of the most salient characteristics of the new style is the polychromatism and exuberance of forms. The combination of golden revetments with paintings and tiles (the traditional blue-painted illustrated tiles that are found all over Porto), created an atmosphere of unforgettable beauty.

The gilt carvings, one of the most vibrant expressions of Porto baroque, are shown at their best in the retables of the churches of S. Francisco and Santa Clara.

Besides these, the following religious buildings are also worthy of notice:

  • Cathedral;
  • Bishop’s Palace;
  • House of Canon Domingos Barbosa;
  • Church of Santa Clara;
  • Church and Office of São Francisco;
  • Façade of the Church of Misericórdia;
  • Church and Tower of Clérigos;
  • Church of Terceiros do Carmo
  • Church of Ordem do Terço
  • Church of Santo Ildefonso
  • Church of Nossa Senhora da Esperança.

The Church of the São João Novo Palace and the Freixo Palace are perhaps the most significant examples of the baroque civil architecture.

Published 10-09-2013
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