Neo-Manueline was a revival architecture and decorative arts style developed in Portugal between the middle of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. The style adopted the characteristics of the Manueline (or Portuguese Late Gothic) of the 16th century.
The neomanuelino is a revivalist architecture, typically romantic, copying the most superficial aspects of Manueline decoration, applied in buildings adapted to the needs of his time. It draws on the technical advances that have emerged with the industrial revolution, both in terms of materials and machines, hiding modern constructions, often with metal structures (the vanguard of the time). It uses all kinds of innovations such as brick or industrial ceramic tiles, preserving, whenever possible, basic issues developed in neoclassicism, such as the functionality and profitability of the architecture, simply adapted to other aesthetics. It follows the great Manueline constructions like the Tower of Belém, the Monastery of the Jerónimos, Monastery of the Batalha and Convent of Christ in Tomar, imitating only the most evident decorative motifs. He does not even bother to faithfully copy the original forms. It is essentially based on the diversity of arches, ropes, vegetal elements, belts, buckles, pinnacles, counter-forces and sculpture. It focuses decoration around doors and windows, like the original buildings, but does not try to copy the complex iconographic programs of the Manueline. It begins with the construction of the Palácio da Pena, in Sintra, by King Ferdinand II (the widowed consort of Queen Maria II), between 1839 and 1849, in an almost natural way. The contract of sale to the king foresaw from the beginning the recovery of the ruins of an old Manueline convent, destroyed by the earthquake of 1755, and its integration in the whole.
The term manuelino was introduced in 1842 by Brazilian art historian Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen to designate the exuberant artistic style that developed during the reign of Manuel I of Portugal (1495–1521). The Manueline style coincided with the Age of Discovery and the peak of Portuguese maritime power. In the sequence of the Gothic Revival architecture fashion that spread for all over Europe since the middle of the 18th century, the Manueline style was considered the most authentical Portuguese architectural style.
Neo-Manueline started with the construction of the Pena Palace in Sintra by Ferdinand II between 1839 and 1849. Another pioneering project was the restoration of the Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon during the 1860s, in which the Manueline monastery gained a new tower and annexes built in Neo-Manueline style (which now house the Maritime Museum and the National Archaeology Museum). During this time the iconic Belém Tower was also restored with several Neo-Manueline additions.
Neo-Manueline eventually spread to the colonies and former Portuguese colonies. In Brazil there are several Neo-Manueline buildings, usually built by Portuguese associations. The most important of these is the Real Gabinete Português de Leitura (Royal Portuguese Library), built between 1880 and 1887 by Portuguese immigrants in the centre of Rio de Janeiro.
Other important Neo-Manueline buildings, in Portugal, are Rossio Railway Station, Lisbon (1886–90), Palace Hotel of Bussaco (1888–1907), the Sintra Town Hall (1906–09), the Counts of Castro Guimarães Palace in Cascais (1900) and the Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra (1904–10). The Neo-Manueline was also used in smaller buildings like private houses.
In Brazil, apart from the Real Gabinete Português de Leitura (Royal Portuguese Library), Rio de Janeiro (1880–87), Neo-Manueline buildings include the Portuguese Center in Santos (Centro Português de Santos, 1898–1901), the Portuguese Library of Bahia (1915–18) and the Portuguese Literary Liceum (Liceu Literário Português) in Rio de Janeiro (1938).
Other examples of Neo-Manueline buildings can also be found in African and Asian territories of the former Portuguese Colonial Empire.
There are also some examples of Neo-Manueline style in countries that were not directly related with the Portuguese culture. A fine example is Morozov Palace (1894–98) in Moscow, Russia.
Situation in Portugal
The first years of the nineteenth century are very complex, due essentially to the succession of political problems, namely the flight of the royal family to Brazil in 1807, due to French invasions, subsequent English rule, liberal revolution in 1820, return of the royal family in 1821, independence from Brazil, the loss of colonial trade with the old colony in 1822 (a dramatic blow to the Portuguese economy), absolutist counterrevolution and, finally, liberal wars, retaining instability until 1834.
This situation only allowed the development of conditions conducive to the emergence of a new artistic style, Romanticism, in the late 1930s. Although in Portugal it appeared relatively early in the literature, at the end of the eighteenth century with some pre-romantics, in the remaining artistic forms it develops only with the impulse given by D. Fernando II, husband of D. Maria II, when initiating construction of the National Palace of Pena, after the stabilization of the national situation.
Throughout Europe, romantic architecture replicates the styles of the past, especially Gothic, but also Romanesque and Renaissance, as well as Arab and Byzantine architecture, reflecting a growing interest in history. Each style has more or less expressiveness, depending on the local tradition, and what was considered to be the true national architecture. This attribution of nationalist values to architecture leads to the great development of neo-Gothic in northern Europe, considered as the true architectural style of countries like France, England and Germany, as a result of the abundance of Gothic cathedrals.
In Portugal the situation is different. Portuguese Gothic follows the mendicant chain, that is, adopts the ideological principles of mendicant orders, based on the simplicity and refusal of all ostentation or luxury, with its own characteristics, without copying the French architecture, a model followed at the time by the generality of European countries. The buildings of great apparatus, covered with typically Gothic decoration, are a little later and, very often, make the transition to the Manueline, such as the Monastery of Batalha or the Convent of Christ in Tomar. The fact that the Manueline coincides with the reign of King Manuel I, with the most important period of the discoveries, making large amounts of capital used generously in religious buildings, making this style very decorated and original, is also fundamental. When romantic sensibility turns to the past, seeking nationalist references, it obviously chooses the Manueline as the ultimate expression of Portuguese architectural creativity, basing itself on the argument of being a purely national architecture.
There is a remarkable collection of Neo-Solinian buildings, of which the following stand out:
Palácio Nacional da Pena in Sintra – Apparatus is a revivalist building on the top of the Sintra mountain range, integrated in a huge English-style park (designation of the typology of gardens that copy nature), with a truly unique landscape. It is a complex building, of an almost organic plant, simulating successive campaigns of works, individualized by the use of different artistic styles. The neomanuelino set stands out for the pink color and is basically constituted by the ruins of the old convent Jerónimo. There are, however, several elements clearly added and inspired by the great works of the reign of King Manuel I, such as the clock tower inspired by the Tower of Bethlehem or the famous copy of the sacristy window of the Convent of Christ in Tomar. The project is due to the Baron of Eschwege, but D. Fernando II had an active participation in the elaboration of the set. It is the main Portuguese romantic building. In 1995 it was classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Arrangement of the façade of the Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon – The main façade of the monastery was subject to restoration and regularization works between 1867 and 1878, according to the project of Cinatti and Rambois, including the construction of a central body with a tower (falls in 1878 during works) and a new wing destined to the House Pia, where at the moment the Museum of the Navy is. The central body will be finished only at the beginning of the 20th century, following a project elaborated in 1895 by Domingos Parente da Silva, eliminating the central tower and simplifying the whole.
Rossio Station in Lisbon – A building designed by the architect José Luís Monteiro in 1886, designed to be Lisbon’s central station, following the European trend of building truly impressive railway stations. It is constituted by a spectacular Neomanueline façade, with arches, pilasters, buttresses, plateaus, pinnacles and a small turret with the clock. The gare’s cover, in iron architecture, following the classical aesthetics, and a luxury hotel, as a complement to the railway station, run according to the eclectic taste of the late nineteenth century.
Palácio Hotel do Bussaco – In the middle of the National Forest of Buçaco and near the Termas do Luso, it was designed for hunting lodge of the kings of Portugal and, later, in 1888 transformed into hotel, according to Luigi Manini project. The ensemble does justice to its author, set designer of the National Theater of São Carlos, the opera of Lisbon, due to the profusion of elements, as well as a privileged implantation in the middle of the historical forest. It is clearly inspired by the Tower of Belém with references to other emblematic buildings of the XV and XVI centuries, making it one of the main Neo-Solinian buildings in Portugal, and a true “fairy tale” hotel. The exterior decoration, in addition to all the architectural elements of the style, was completed with important panels of painting on tile executed by Jorge Colaço.
Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra – It is one of the neomanuelino’s later buildings. The present building was started in 1904, according to Luigi Manini’s project, remodeling the previous building. It uses an impressive decorative set, based on arches, ropes, platibadas, pinnacles and vegetal elements. The whole set has references to Freemasonry.
Other important buildings in neomanuelino style in Portugal are the Palace of the Counts of Castro Guimarães in Cascais (circa 1900), the Paços do Concelho de Soure [disambiguation required] (1902-1906), the Paços do Concelho de Sintra (1906-1909) ) and many others.
The neomanuelino was literally exported to some universal exhibitions in France during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and for the National Exhibition of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro in 1908, where there was a Manueline Palace.
In Brazil there are also neo-Solinian buildings, part of them linked to institutions founded by Portuguese immigrants. Examples are the Henry Gibson Mansion in Recife (oldest exemplar of Neomanueline architecture in the country, 1847), the Portuguese Royal Office of Reading (1880-1887) and the Portuguese Literary Lyceum (1932-1938) in Rio de Janeiro, the Center Cultural Portuguese (1898-1901) in Santos, the São José Church (1902) in Belo Horizonte, the Ajuda Chapel (1912) and the Portuguese Reading Office of Bahia (1915-1918) in Salvador, and a few others.
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