Lifestyle

The unique art of Azulejo ceramics has its own museum in Lisbon, Portugal

The unique art of Azulejo ceramics has its own museum in Lisbon, Portugal

Symbolic of Portugal's architecture, Azulejos, these precious crafted varnished ceramic tiles, have their own museum in Lisbon.

Amongst the museums showcasing Portuguese cultural traditions, in Lisbon, this one, dedicated to Azulejos, the varnished ceramic tiles with geometric or figurative decors, is the focal point of a trend making a big comeback. In town, official buildings, public places, palaces, fountains, gardens or churches display these decorative ornaments.

A museum for Azulejos, in Lisbon

Painted by hand, the artisanal blue, yellow or green ceramics are of Spanish origin, but have now spread all through the land of Fado. Workshops produce them for official or private orders, and the National Museum of Azulejos classifies them and tells the story of this unique art that spread to the former colonies of the country, in Africa and South America.

Azulejos palace
In Portugal, Azulejos are everywhere, including in churches and palaces. © DR
Azulejos palace courtyard
The museum's courtyard quite naturally covered its walls with the famous blue earthenware tiles. © DR

A customized decor in Portugal

A great variety of themes are featured on these ceramic tiles, none of which are similar: religious life, the royal court, maritime navigation, life in the fields, cooking or daily life are inexhaustable subjects of inspiration for those who draw them, joined today by designers, who revisit the ancient art of the Azulejos. Never out of fashion, these arty tiles are also long-term sustainable objects…

Azulejos theater troop
This theater troop of yesteryear is featured on a mural of multicolored ceramics. © DR

When tradition becomes a contemporary art…