The new website is now available to the public, with the generous support of the PT Foundation and implementation by Waynext. The website complements the investment made by the MNAA in social networks, technological innovation and in the area of communication in general, capping a dome outlined in 2010 and implemented by the large team that, on a daily basis, makes Portugal’s premier museum. A dome in which the arc is designed as a modern, attractive structure dedicated to public service and to the public but whose identity is based on the study, preservation and mobilisation of a unique collection which condenses the best of that which was produced or accumulated in the country over nearly nine centuries of European projects and expansion throughout the world.
An extensive renovation project, grounded in strategic planning and considered essential to the national and international standing of a unit upon which greater responsibilities are incumbent, was carried out over the course of four years. Based on the notion of continuous effect resulting from closely interwoven exhibition events complemented by initiatives of other natures, principally scientific and cultural in a wider sense, the museum offers an average of four simultaneous exhibitions at all times. The major themed exhibitions displayed in the gallery on Level 0 are followed by the programs held in the Tecto Pintado Room
(aimed at research and valuation projects relating to the MNAA collection), the Mezanino Room
(in conjunction with the Prints and Drawings collection), the Guest Work program
(launched in 2013 to welcome reference works of master painters from major international partners to the Gallery of European Paintings in order to fill gaps in the collection or to stimulate an enriching dialogue with it). From May to September, a fifth event even brightens the gardens of the MNAA: the MNAA Contemporary Visions. EDP Foundation residency program at the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga
is an exhibition focused on photography, which celebrates its third edition this year. But the museum also opens space for additional exhibitions when justified, as with the notable exhibition Splendours of the Orient. Gold Jewels from Old Goa
in the Torreão Room
In addition, the MNAA’s determined commitment to internationalisation, which was consolidated in 2011 and 2012 with the consecutive exhibition of the Primitivos (1450-1550). El Siglo Dorado de la Pintura Portuguesa e Cuerpos de Dolor. The Image of the Sacred in Spanish Sculpture (1500-1750)
in two Spanish museums was continued in 2013 with the opening of the exhibition En el Umbral de la Modernidad. Domingos Sequeira, un pintor portugués (1768-1837)
in Madrid. The presentation of one of the MNAA’s most ambitious projects, the Tesori dal Portogallo. Architetture Immaginarie dal Barocco al Medioevo
exhibition at the exceptional Palazzo Madama in Turin in 2014, constitutes one of the most prestigious ambassadors of Portuguese heritage undertaken in recent years.
Meanwhile, the museum spaces have been revitalised, enlarging and improving their offer and promoting an increasingly contemporary image of the institution. The renovation of the restaurant-cafeteria and renovation of the garden, the Tecto Pintado Room
, the Temporary Exhibition Gallery, the Mezanino Room
and the main hall was followed, also in 2013, by the restoration of the roofs of the St. Albert Chapel; the first stage of an ambitious project that should return the northern flank of the April 9 Wing to the public in 2015 with new museographic offers. It is within this plan that the MNAA’s most ambitious project for the next year fits: the reopening of the Gallery of Portuguese Painting and Sculpture in its entirety and completely renovated, offering a new view of the development of these two core disciplines of Portuguese art, enriched by a broad set of new acquisitions and incorporations.
130 years after its foundation in 1884, the MNAA Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga is thus preparing, in keeping with its historical origins and in the service of the inestimable legacy entrusted to it, to take a decisive leap into the future.
Lisbon, September 2014
António Filipe Pimentel