This is quite simply one of the world's greatest private art collections. Calouste Gulbenkian was an Armenian businessman who was among the first to comprehend the economic potential of Middle Eastern oil. He amassed a vast fortune and spent much of it on art. After his death in 1955, the collection was bequeathed to a foundation based in Lisbon, the city that gave him a haven during World War II. Gulbenkian had discerning taste. The museum's collection is not huge, but it has at least one exquisite example from almost every era in the history of art—from gold-coated ancient Egyptian funeral masks to Impressionist treasures by Monet and Renoir. There are Turkish ceramics of the deepest Aegean blue; tempestuous Turner seascapes; salons filled with the furniture of French aristocracy; portraits by Rembrandt; illustrated medieval bibles; jade from the courts of Chinese emperors; Grecian urns; porcelain made in 13th-Century Persia. The collection of jewelry by René Lalique is unsurpassed. It's all housed in a light-filled modernist low-rise that blends into landscaped gardens where, in summer, open-air concerts are held beside the ornamental lakes. As if the permanent collection wasn't enough, the museum also regularly hosts great temporary shows, like treasures of Czars brought over from the Kremlin or art from Spain's royal palaces. A must see!
Calouste Gulbenkian Museum—Founder's Collection
Avenida de Berna 45A
Our Rating Neighborhood Praça de Espanha Hours Wed–Mon 10am–6pm Transportation
Metro: S.Sebastio or Praa de Espanha. Buses: 713,716,726,742,746 and 756Phone +315217823461 Prices €10 (Founder's Collection + Modern Collection); €11.5 (Founder's Collection + Modern Collection + Temporary Exhibitions); 50% discount to people under 30 years old and over 65 years old; free Sunday after 2pm Web site Calouste Gulbenkian Museum - Founder's Collection
MapAvenida de Berna 45A Lisbon
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