Museu Calouste Gulbbenkian

Lisbon's Museu Calouste Gulbbenkian

The entrance to the museum

Yesterday we walked towards the Museu Calouste Gulbbenkian, but ended up going south a few blocks before we would have reached it. Today we took the Metro down to Baixa and back up - a different line - to just north of the Museum, and spent most of the day at the museum and at the Centro de Arte Moderna which, along with the Gulbbenkian, shares a very beautiful campus with the museum.

The entrance to the modern art center from the ampitheater

The musem holds the personal collection of Calouste Gulbbenkian who was an Armenian with British citizenship who made a fortune in Iraqi oil. He died in the 1950s and left his entire collection and a lot of money to Portugal to set up a musem to house it and a foundation to support the arts. The foundation's endowment is currently worth billions of dollars.

The art collection starts with Egyptian art about 3500 years old and goes through European art of the 1900s. The collection of Islamic art is my favorite, but the Egyptian, Asian, and Eruopean collections are all excellent. Think of what Bill Gates could do if he was a devoted art collector today. That is the kind of wealth that enabled this collection.

The green space between the Museum and the Art Center

After spending several hours in the museum, we had lunch - quite good - at its cafeteria and checked out the gift shop - nice, expensive. stuff. Then we left the museum, walked around the foundation building, and entered the green space we had seen from the windows on the back of the museum.

We rested at the ampitheater until one of the many pigeons flying there shat on a lady resting on the bench in front of us. Then we decided it was time to explore the grounds ;-}!

Another statue in the green space

Another part of the small lake

After exploring the grounds, we explored the modern art center. It features recent Portuguese works in multimedia as well as traditional media. It was fun, but not as much fun as the museum.

A statue of Calouste Gulbbenkian at the northwest corner of the campus

We ended our day with a walk back to our hotel - about a 25 minute walk. Actually, since this is Portugal, we stopped a pastry shop near our hotel and had pastry and espresso while sitting out front and people watching for half an hour, then we went to our room. The pastry, and the espresso, and the people watching was excellent.