Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Museu Municipal de Faro, Portugal

In the former convent of Our Lady of the Assumption, the Museu Municipal de Faro is now housed. For a mere two euros, one may see the art and history of Faro and the Algarve region housed in a modest two story building in the heart of the ancient city. Here's a quick tour!

In the museum's entrance, this tapestry depicts the Song of Holy Mary of Afonso X, The Wise (circa 13th century). An image of the Virgin Mary was placed on the wall by the Christians of Faro. During a conflict between Muslims and Christians, the Muslims at one point threw the image into the sea. After that, whenever they went fishing, they caught nothing. When they realized it was a punishment for casting the Virgin's image in the ocean, they found it and returned it to its former place. As a reward, the fish came back in great abundance, more than ever before.

Song of Holy Mary of Afonso X, The Wise (circa 13th century AD)

This grain jar dates back to Roman times and easily holds more cereal than a family could eat in a week.

Where's the nutritional info on the side?

The museum also has an exhibit of items from ancient Roman dating from the time of the BC/AD divide (there must be a term for that but I can't find it).

Bits of columns discovered by archaeologists

Roman skeleton


A whole room of the museum has the Mosaic of Oceanus laid out on the floor. Found in 1926, the mosaic dates back to 2nd or 3rd century AD. The lower portion of the mosaic has the inscription of those who commissioned the work. They were probably in fishing or other maritime activities. The Greek god Oceanus was the son of Uranus and Gaia, father of all the waters on the earth, and originated the four winds that help sailors on their journeys across the sea.

Mosaic of Oceanus

Overlooking the mosaic are busts of Agrippina Minor (1st century) and Emperor Hadrian (2nd century).

Agrippina and Hadrian

The Islamic Room contains items from a typical home during the Islamic occupation of the area for five centuries.

Storage jars

Other household pottery

Up a winding staircase more exhibits are found, including this carving:

Madonna and Child

View of the museum from upstairs

One hall housed a large exhibit of the works of local artist Rosario da Silva, born 25 February 1926. I was impressed by the range and ability of the artist, working in several mediums (tapestries, ceramics, sculpture, mosaics, even philately!). He died on 22 August 2010 and is proudly remembered.

Posters of Nativity and Three Kings

Stamps and other drawings

Guide book drawings



More styles of painting

Even more style!


Pottery and more posters

Another gallery held various paintings from the middle ages to nearly the present, with a wide variety of Christian religious themes presented. They were fine examples of Algarve artists from several centuries. No flash photography was allowed and, alas, no pictures came out. Now you have an excuse to visit!

The hallways between the exhibit rooms had many stone sculptures including many striking coats of arms.

A simple coat of arms

More elaborate coat of arms

Ecclesiastical coat of arms

At two euros, this museum is definitely a bargain and worth the visit. Once I was done with my visit, I headed back to the hotel for the end of nap time and the beginning of more adventures with the children.

No comments:

Post a Comment