Elderly couple crosses street through mist to visit Sunday morning worship in Carmo Church
. The lateral facade of the Carmo Church is coated with a grand azulejos, representing scenes alluding to the founding of the Carmelite Order
and Mount Carmel
. The composition was designed by Silvestre Silvestri, painted by Carlos Branco and performed in Vila Nova de Gaia
at Fábrica do Senhor de Além and at Fábrica da Torrinha, and dated by 1912.
may not be the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about Portugal, but when you do visit the country you won’t miss them – and you won’t forget them - reported CanalCulture
Azulejo is a form of Portuguese
, ceramic tilework
. It has become a typical aspect of Portuguese culture
, having been produced without interruption for five centuries. There is also a tradition of their production in former Portuguese and Spanish colonies in Latin America
and in the Philippines
In Portugal, azulejos are found on the interior and exterior of churches, palaces, ordinary houses and even railway stations or subway stations. They constitute a major aspect of Portuguese architecture
as they are applied on walls, floors and even ceilings. They were not only used as an ornamental art
form, but also had a specific functional capacity like temperature control
in homes. Many azulejos chronicle major historical and cultural aspects of Portuguese history
- reported Wikipedia
The art was introduced to Portugal, by the Moors
and the craft is still in use in the Arab world in two main traditions the "Egyptian Zalij" and the "Moroccan Zalij" the latter being the most famous. The word azulejo is derived from the Arabic word
الزليج (az-zulayj): zellige
, meaning "polished stone". This origin explains the unmistakable Arab influences in many tiles: interlocking curvilinear, geometric or floral motifs. The Spanish city of Seville
had become the major centre of the Hispano-Moresque
tile industry, employing the old techniques of cuerda seca ('dry string') and cuenca.
The earliest azulejos in the 15th century were dry-string tiles (cuerda seca) and azulejos alicatados (panels of tile-mosaic) in Moorish tradition, imported from Seville by king Manuel I
after a visit to that town in 1503. ... The Portuguese adopted the Moorish tradition of horror vacui
('fear of empty spaces') and covered the walls completely with azulejos.
After the Portuguese had captured Ceuta
(North Africa) in 1415 they became acquainted with the azulejo technique themselves. But until the mid-16th century the Portuguese continued to rely on foreign imports—mostly from Spain, but also on a smaller scale from Antwerp
(Flanders) and Italy.
When potters from Spain, Flanders and Italy came to Portugal in the early 16th century and established workshops there, they brought with them the maiolica
techniques (which made it possible to paint directly on the tiles). This technique allowed the artists to represent a much larger number of figurative themes in their compositions.
Articles for home reading:
- Teresa Soeiro, Jorge Fernandes Alves, Silvestre Lacerda, Joaquim Oliveira - «A cerâmica portuense : evolução empresarial e estruturas edificadas» (The ceramic of Porto: business development and building structures), Portugalia, Nova Série, Vol. XVI, Faculdade de Letras, Porto, 1995, p. 203-287
Behind the scene : other panorama shooted during this travel ▼