Those of you lucky enough to be planning a Lisbon city break over the winter months, read on! Running until March 30th, 2014, Lisbon’s Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga plays host to a temporary exhibition of works on loan from Madrid’s prestigious Prado Museum. Entitled ‘Rubens, Brueghel, Lorrain – Northern Landscape from the Prado Museum’, the exhibition features 57 paintings by the great Flemish and Dutch masters of 17th-century painting, capturing on canvas the landscapes of the Lowlands, from scenes of snow and ice to mountains and forests. Closed on Mondays, the exhibition is open from Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 7pm (9pm on Saturdays) and entrance costs 6€ (3€ for over 65s and under 18s).
If you fancy visiting the permanent collection whilst you’re there (a combination ticket will cost you 10€), then you’re in for a treat. Considered Lisbon’s most important museum, the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga (National Museum of Ancient Art) contains an extensive collection of Portuguese and colonial art, complemented all the while by a selection of foreign masterpieces. Housed in a 17th-century palace in the district of Lapa, the building has housed the museum since the late 19th century and its Portuguese portfolio spans the 14th to the 19th centuries, many paintings therein with a religious theme.
Paying homage to its former empire, there’s also an interesting section devoted to the works discovered by Portuguese explorers and conquerors including the distinctive Namban art, depicting the arrival of the Portuguese in Japan in the 16th century. There’s also ceramics from China, paintings and wooden statues from the Low Countries and collections of gold, silver and jewellery from monastic origins, particularly Belem. From a European perspective, there’s a plentiful supply of masterpieces, with works on display by the likes of Tintoretto, Bosch, Dürer, Velázquez, Raphael and Holbein. And before you leave, take time to visit the beautiful sculpture garden overlooking the River Tagus.