The Berardo Collection Museum, within Lisbon’s Centro Cultural de Belém (Cultural Centre of Belem), houses one of Europe’s largest privately owned collections of modern and contemporary art.
Belem has long been a popular destination for tourists, thanks largely to attractions such as the Manueline style Hieronymites Monastery and Tower of Belem, which are jointly inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Yet surprisingly few visitors to Lisbon set aside time to wander across the road from the monastery and visit this museum, known as the Museu Colecção Berardo in Portuguese.
Rodrigues Berardo’s art collection
In 2006 it was agreed that works from José Manuel Rodrigues Berardo’s art collection would be housed and displayed in the district’s cultural centre, which is known locally simply as the CCB. A ten year loan was signed, providing an easily accessible exhibition space for the collection, whose value has been estimated at greater than €300 million.
The Berardo Collection includes works of art by many of the most resonant names of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Works by Picasso, Dali, Mondrian and Francis Bacon number among the 4000-piece collection.
Contemporary art in Lisbon
Berardo, a successful entrepreneur, has put together his collection over the past three decades and it now encompasses works by around 500 artists. The pieces displayed represent some of the most influential movements of the past century and explanatory legends are provided in both Portuguese and English.
In addition to the Berardo Museum’s permanent collection, temporary exhibitions of work by contemporary artists are also shown. These include sculptures, sound installations and photography exhibitions.
The museum has a sizable gift and bookshop that proves a pleasure to browse if you’re interested in art, design, architecture and photography.
The museum is free to visit and open longer than most of the other attractions in Belem. The Berardo Collection Museum is open from 10.00am to 7.00pm, with the last entry at 6.30pm.
Photos illustrating this post are by Stuart Forster.
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