Convent of Tomar

Convent of Tomar
Convent of Tomar
Anonim

This convent designed by the architect Diego de Arruda and built between 1510 and 1515 in the Portuguese city of Tomar is one of the best examples of the so-called Manueline art. An architectural style that only occurred in Portuguese lands, since it was very much to the taste of its King Manuel I, who promoted its use in large buildings, some as exquisite as the Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon.

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Convent of Christ of Tomar

Manuel I reigned from 1495 to 1521 and with him, Portugal gradually built up a vast empire that included territories in both America, as in Asia or Africa. This is very important, since it was an empire based on domination of the sea, which is why Manueline decoration abounds with elements related to seamanship and ships. As well as other details are linked to the cultural influence coming from the different colonies.

All this sometimes reaches the level of a somewhat confusing and very ornate set where columns, cornices with infinite lobes, pinnacles, crests, etc, are joined, … Many of them are elements typical of art Gothic, which in Portugal evolved into these particular and unique forms.

And we have a complete example of this in the Convento de Cristo de Tomar, especially in areas such as the window shown in the photograph.

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Window of the chapter house of the convent of Christ

A window (janela) that the great Italian writer Umberto Eco called “the window par excellence”. Praising this composition in which ship ropes, shells, chains, algae and other shapes undoubtedly related to the sea are discovered.

Above all that set, where there are also floating corks or underwater corals, stands the cross of the Order of Christ, which actually paid for many of the expeditions of the time, which helped her to become enormously rich and to have an important power in the country and in its colonies. A power that they shared with the monarch Manuel I himself, and for this reason you can also see the royal coat of arms and the traditional armillary spheres that were the true symbol of this king.

Curiously, this window so profusely decorated, so striking and transformed into one of the greatest examples of Manueline art, in practice it is only a skylight on the facade of the chapter house of this convent of Christ in Take.

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