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Filipe Lobo (active Lisbon 1650-1673)
Filipe Lobo (active Lisbon 1650-1673)

A view of Belém Abbey, Lisbon

Details
Filipe Lobo (active Lisbon 1650-1673)
A view of Belém Abbey, Lisbon
signed and indistinctly dated ‘Philippus Lupis Fecit Ao 16[..]’ (lower right)
oil on canvas
20 3/8 x 30 3/8 in. (51.8 x 77.2 cm.)

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Lot Essay

This painting captures the Jerónimos Monastery, Belem Beach, Lisbon, nearly a century and a half after its construction. Authorisation was granted for Manuel I (1469-1521) to begin building this monastery on the outskirts of Lisbon in 1496, on the site of a former chapel where Vasco da Gama kept vigil before his successful sea voyage to India. Manuel I intended for the building to be a spiritual monument to Santa Maria de Belém and also a testament to the strength of the newly empowered Avis-Beja dynasty. Over the next 150 years, the building underwent three important building campaigns by different master builders, resulting in an extensive façade that stretched over three hundred meters and harmoniously incorporated Gothic, Renaissance, Christian and Naturalist elements into an elegant Manueline style. The monastery was home to the Order of the St. Jerome, who provided spiritual guidance to seafarers until 1833, and was also designated as a royal pantheon. The monastery became a particularly important symbol after the restoration of the Portuguese monarchy in the mid-seventeenth century, when Lobo and Stoop painted. The monastery’s role as both a centre of religious and court life during the Golden Age of Portuguese exploration transformed the building into a potent and magnificent symbol of Portugal.
Prior to the discovery of this painting, there was only one known signed work by Filipe Lobo, also of Jerónimos Monastery, which hangs in the National Museum of Ancient Art, Lisbon. Lobo, an obscure but talented artist studied under the widely-travelled Dutch painter Dirck Stoop, who came to Portugal in 1661. While in Lisbon, Stoop worked for Catherine de Braganza and he dedicated to her his well-known series of eight Views of Lisbon and the related View of Belém Monastery near Lisbon. Although Stoop moved to London with her court in 1662, his masterful landscapes left a lasting impression on Lobo’s compositions. In this painting, Lobo balances the extensive, imposing Manueline architecture of the monastery with the humble simplicity of the figures that pass by on their daily routines.

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