Tag Archives: azulejos art tiles

Portuguese azulejos art grandeur



azulejo wall art, Almas Chapel of Santa Catarina, Oporto

Azulejo Mural – Almas Chapel of Santa Catarina by Silvestre Silvestri

The Igreja de Carmo church in Porto is one of the examples of the Portuguese baroque era with neo-classical features. The large ceramic panel is a depiction of the foundation of the order of Carmelites on Mount Carmel in Israel.




Azulejo tiles on balcony, Portugal

Arabesque geometric azulejo balcony





Caravel (sailing ship) azulejos panel

© José Luiz Ribeiro Bernardes



Fabulous Portuguese Azulejos


The azulejo (ceramic tiles) of Portugal are ubiquitous and usually presented on a monumental scale, with a grandeur and elegance, rarely seen with public tile art. They also represent a visual public history record, serving as a chronicle of many aspects of Portugal’s past, displaying military battles, daily life, mythical Gods, creatures and other cultural and historical references. The term azulejo comes from the Arabic word az-zulayj, meaning “polished stone.”
The early azulejos, which appeared in the 13th Century, had a distinct Arab influence with interlocking curvilinear, geometric or floral motifs and was used to imitate the Roman mosaic arts. In accordance to Islamic law, they portrayed no human figures, only geometric patterns. Azulejos were utilised to decorate the entire facades of buildings and used extensively on the interiors, adorning whole walls. Over time the Portuguese painters introduced more human or animal figures into their designs. The pervasive azulejos can be witnessed at palaces, railway stations, schools, fountains, churches, homes, restaurants and bars.


Azulejos moorish fountain_à_Sintra,_région_de_Lisbonne,_Portugal

Moorish Fountain, Sintra National Palace


With the influx of Italian potters into Seville in the 16th century, sophisticated Majolica techniques were introduced that allowed the artists to represent a much larger number of figurative themes in their compositions. There was also an influence that filtered through from the printed textiles that were imported from India, which manifested as Hindu decorative symbols, flowers, leaves, animals and birds. The latter half of the 17th century saw the introduction of blue and white tiles from the Dutch Deft company by Spanish artist Gabriel del Barco y Minusca. These blue and white figurative tiles, designed by academically trained Portuguese artists, became the dominant fashion, superseding the former taste for repetative patterns and abstract decoration.
From the mid 1700‘s on, the taste of Portuguese society changed from the monumental narrative panels to smaller and more delicately executed panels in Rococo style. Another innovation that appeared was the use of transfer printing on the blue and white tiles, but hand painted tiles still remained popular. The cultural elite dismissed the Azulejo tile art as decoration for the masses but since the 1950‘s a revival had occurred with contemporary artists such as Maria Keil, Costa Pinheiro, Nuno Siqueira and Cecília de Sousa all contributing to a program to uplift the metro underground of Lisbon with Azulejo art.

The unique azulejos art is a regular feature as you travel around Portugal and it still constitutes a major aspect of Portuguese architecture, being applied on walls, floors and ceilings, making it easily accessible and a vivid history source.


Seated ceramic decorative figurines - National-Palace-of-Pena-Corbis

Cross legged oriental porcelain figurines

Palace of Pena, Sintra



Azulejo-street - Blue and white azulejos, Santa Catarina Chapel

Santa Catarina Chapel

 Porto, Portugal


Palace of Pena, Sintra - Art Nouveau bowl, two flamingo sculptures, two ornate pitchers

Indian parlour, Palace of Pena, Sintra




Azulejo_Mercado_Municipal_Funchal Leda and the Swan

Leda and Swan azulejo motif

Ceramic tiles (Azulejo) with a market scene at the wall of the Mercado dos Lavradores, Funchal, Madeira, Portugal




Portuguese Trompe Loeil azulejo mural




Azulejos shopfront mural , matching blue and white ceramic vessels





National Palace of Pena arabesque orientalist room with Saxony porcelain

© Sandro Vannini/CORBIS




Arab Room

Palacio de Pena Sintra,Portugal




Igreja do Carmo azulejos wall

Porto, Portugal




jesuscm-flickr azulejos church facade

Azulejo church facade

Cortegaca, Aveiro, Portugal

jesuscm – Flickr





Azulejos wall mural, National Palace of Queluz





Viuva-Lamego,-Lisboa-©Luis-Novo azulejos entrance

Viuva Lamego, Lisboa ©Luis Novo




Ceramic-wash-bowl Pena Palace, Sintra

Pena Palace, Sintra




Barcelona Cathedral

My two sons on their way to Portugal, where they took some photos at Sintra, added in this post.



Sintra-Pena Palace charger

Pena Palace charger, Sintra, Portugal



Sintra Palace dragons sculpture

The ‘guardians of the penumbra’ at the ‘Guardian Gate’ which leads to the ‘Initiation Well’

Quinta de Regaleira, Sintra



The Palace of the Marquesses of Fronteira, Lisbon

The Palace of the Marquesses of Fronteira, Lisbon




Fabrica-sant'anna-ceramics tile-factory-est-1741

Fabrica  Sant’ana, Lisbon (azulejos tile factory still in production since 1741)





The Palace of the Marquesses of Fronteira, Lisbon

Built in 1641




dj travel experience Sintra outdoor sculpture

Sintra sculpture





Fabrica  Sant’ana, Lisbon




imagem-da-gare-do-oriente-Lisbon underground azulejos - photos by Mario Rui Fernande

Oriente Underground Station Azulejos

Photo by Mario Rui Fernande





Bussaco Royal Palace, Penacova, Portugal





Mid Century wall mural by Querubim Lapa, Lisbon




Querubim Lapa,-Prato,-figura-híbrida,-1959

Modernist charger  – Querubim Lapa, 1959




Manuela Madureira azulejos, 1965 (  monumental wall mural on the cusp of demolition)

Monsanto Panoramic Restaurant






Azulejos Lisbon

Photo by Jos Dielis




Sintra-Portugal bronze figure sculpture

Pena Palace bronze sculpture lamp, Sintra





Handpainted azulejos, Sintra






Caption – ‘O inico revolta con os frances’ – ( start of revolt with France)

Olhao seaside, Portugal



Lisboa,-Janelas-Verdes-JaimeSilva -Flickr

Janelas Verdes, Lisboa

JaimeSilva -Flickr



Flickriver--jaime-silva geisha girl azulejos Lisbon

Geisha azulejos at  Avenida 5 de Outubro, Lisbon

JaimeSilva -Flickr




Viana do Castelo Cathedral, Portugal

Photo by Ricardo Silva



Lisboa---Avenida-5-de-Outubro azulejos

Azulejos at Avenida 5 de Outubro, Lisbon




Metro-Lisbon-Oriente-Station azulejos

Oriente Railway Station azulejos




Azulejería portuguesa.

Stair azulejos, Queluz National Palace, Portugal




Estate Quinta-de-Regaleira,-Sintra, Portugal

Ornate entrance at Quinta de Regaleira, Sintra




Quinta-de-Regaleira portuguese estate at Sintra

Rococo decor at Quinta de Regaleira, Sintra




Sintra Quinta-de-Regaleira-Kangaroo in a porthole

Kangaroo in a porthole

Quinta de Regaleira, Sintra




Lisbon Oriente-Station contemporary azulejos

Oriente Station azulejos





Sao Bento Station azulejos murals



Sintra-Peno Palace ceramic-gourd-vessels

Pair of lidded ceramic double gourd vessels

Peno Palace, Sintra





Traditional Portuguese pottery with white quartz inlay from Nisa




Sintra-Palace Portugal

Pena Palace, Sintra





Parque-do-Eduardo-VII-uplodaed-tm-Lisboa, Pavilhão Carlos Lopes

Azulejos at Pavilhão Carlos Lopes, Lisbon



The Palace of the Marquesses of Fronteira, Lisbon

The Palace of the Marquesses of Fronteira, Lisbon




Art Deco facade Teatro_Eden_-_superior_esquerdo

Teatro Eden Hotel Art Deco, Lisbon





Azulejos mural, Porto



Climbing cork oak in Alentejo Photo: © Gabriela Tavares

Climbing cork oak tree in Alentejo
Photo: © Gabriela Tavares



Portugal-ceramics at Pena Palace wash bowl

Pena Palace, Sintra




The Church of St. Sebastian in Darque- azulejos

The Church of St. Sebastian in Darque – Viana do Castelo




Azulejos mural Rail-railway-station-of-Porto

Mural at Porto Railway Station




Swan-Room-ceiling at Sintra Palace

Swan Room azulejos ceiling, Pena Palace





Swan azulejos with arabesque border

Pena Palace, Sintra



Sintra-Palace-Dining-Room-ceramic-walls crumpdillyicious.blogspot

Dining Room azulejos walls – Sintra Palace





Neptune azulejos panel – Aquário Vasco da Gama

Dafundo, Lisbon




‘Adam & Eve cast from Eden’  by Querubim Lapa

Palácio da  Justiça (1970)



God, Adam and Eve in Azulejos-in-Coimbras-Chapel, Braga Portugal

God, Adam and Eve

Coimbras Chapel, Braga Portugal




Sintra Palace fountain




Bathroom at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan Wisconsin

Blue and white azulejos bathroom at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center

Sheboygan, Wisconsin, USA




Next post – Sculptures of abstraction