It is perhaps in this building that we can see the first aspects, in any case the most characteristic, of the new Portuguese style, a national variant of the Gothic, known as the Manueline style. Rather than a style, this was a decorative variety, born in Portugal since the reign of John II and characterized by an ornamental exuberance whose elements derive from different civilizations, but all are grafted onto the Gothic. These elements are Indian, Arabic, mixed with a frenzied naturalism, in which corals, algae, madrepores are intertwined with European plant species; everything was combined with classical elements that corrected the decorative excesses with harmonious and restful lines. One of the most exuberant Manueline-style buildings is the convent of Christ, in Thomar, of which Diogo de Aruda began the choir, which was added by King Emanuele to the Byzantine octagon, the ancient chapel of the Templars. But it was in Lisbon, in Belem, that King Emmanuel, who nevertheless preferred Thomar, erected the most representative monument of Manueline art, the Jeronymos convent.
According to Beautypically, the monastery church has three naves of equal height; the adjoining cloister is admirable. In the southern façade, in which the horizontal lines of Portuguese Gothic dominate, the sumptuous portal was designed by the architect João de Castilho, with sculptures in a vast iconographic cycle – apostles, prophets, sibyls – around the Virgin in a flamboyant Gothic style. The western portal, the work of the sculptor Nicolas Chanterène, is formed by polycentric curves and very faithfully reflects the Manueline taste. The interior of the church is of splendid grandeur with octagonal pillars that support the vaults like trunks of gigantic palm trees. The cloister happily brings together Manueline and classical styles in such an intelligent arrangement that it forms a single harmony despite the contrasting trends.
Very close to the Jeronymos, on the banks of the Tagus and in an area that once formed an islet, stands the tower of Belem, a true jewel of Manueline architecture and decoration. In Coimbra the tombs of the two first Portuguese kings, Alfonso Enriques and Sancho I are noteworthy.
The Manueline style ends with the “imperfect chapels” of Batalha. Their eight pillars intended to support the central vault, never built, in the exuberance of plant decoration, evoke the pillars of Indian temples.
The Italian Renaissance had a great propagator in A. Sansovino who stayed in Portugal, as Vasari recalls, in the last nine years of the century. XV, and left there works of sculpture and architecture in the taste of the country, not yet well identified. It is seen emerging in secondary motifs, such as a door, a window, a frieze. Then chapels were built, such as that of the Magi in S. Marcos near Coimbra. Whole buildings were later erected in his manner, such as the pretty church of the Conception in Thomar, where the Florentine influence is so evident. In 1549 the round chapel of S. Amaro was built near Lisbon, surrounded by a polygonal half-arched portico, but covered inside, and in the sacristy, by a spherical dome. The Roman influence began in Portugal towards the end of the century. XVI with the apse chapel of the Jeronymos convent and with the Thomar cloister, built according to the principles of Palladio. Then came the poor and austere Renaissance of the Counter-Reformation, of which the Italian Terzi was the master in some buildings in Lisbon, S. Rocco among others. And the Baroque style also arrived in Portugal with its curved lines, the twisted columns, the protruding and wavy cornices, the profusion of moldings and colored marbles. This art spreads to the carved wooden altars that can be seen in all Baroque churches: notable among others is that of Braga, with baroque stalls, pulpits and altars. The Baroque style buildings are numerous in Portugal, starting with the University of Évora, begun in 1551, of an early Baroque style; from the Certosa, of the same city (1587-94); from the round church with an equally circular cloister and Ionic columns of Serra do Pilar, facing Porto. In Lisbon, towards the end of the century. XVII the church of Santa Engracia was built, with a Greek cross plan inscribed in a square, with protruding profiles of shelves and cornices and with the interior decorated with polychrome marbles. The Baroque lasted during the 17th and 18th centuries. Around 1732 the Italian Nazoni built the Torre dos Clerigos in Porto, with its small but graceful church, in a balanced and elegant Baroque style. interior decorated with polychrome marble. The Baroque lasted during the 17th and 18th centuries. Around 1732 the Italian Nazoni built the Torre dos Clerigos in Porto, with its small but graceful church, in a balanced and elegant Baroque style. interior decorated with polychrome marble. The Baroque lasted during the 17th and 18th centuries. Around 1732 the Italian Nazoni built the Torre dos Clerigos in Porto, with its small but graceful church, in a balanced and elegant Baroque style.