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The Calouste Gulbenkian Fundation

The Calouste Gulbenkian Fundation (16)

Calouste Gulbenkian was a wealthy oilman with a passion. After his death, Lisbon inherited an art collection of incredible value, the foundation that bears his name.

With the objective of promoting art, charity, education and science, the foundation was set up in 1969 after Gulbenkian had left behind everything necessary for its founding, and the headquarters were established close to the “Eduardo VII” park.

Its base is found in the magnate’s former home, a large building designed by Ruy Athouguia, Pedro Cid and Alberto Pessoa. The whole complex is housed in beautiful surroundings, a park made up of more than seven hectares. Inside are the foundation’s installations which include offices, conference rooms, an auditorium and exhibition rooms. Also located here are the renowned “Calouste Gulbenkian” museum, the centre of modern art and the splendid art library.

The natural surroundings are lovely and the buildings designed to create a well-balanced and pleasant atmosphere.

The “Calouste Gulbenkian” museum, along with the ancient art museum, is one of the largest museums in Lisbon and houses a vast and valuable collection.

It displays more than four thousand years of history and all the main civilisations. Included are Egyptian, Greek, Assyrian, Islamic and European works of art from many different periods, shown in spacious and well-lighted halls.

Down these corridors you will find items such as Egyptian statues of incalculable value, exquisite Greek urns from the 5th century B.C and an enormous Assyrian alabaster base-relief from the 9th century B.C.

Due to his Armenian roots, Gulbenkian was particularly interested in the Middle East, and this is apparent on visiting the museum. On display are Persian carpets and textiles, coloured enamel bottles and manuscripts written by Armenian refugees during the 16th and 18th centuries.    

In the part of the museum dedicated to Europe, you will see paintings dating from the middle ages up to the 19th century, including works by Manet, Degas, Fragonard and Rembrandt. 

At the end of a typical tour you will find yourself in a magnificent hall dedicated to the French goldsmith René Lalique, a close friend of Gulbenkian. His art deco collection of jewels, crystals, ivory, urns and combs is truly priceless.

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