Portugal Medieval Arts Part V

The first Portuguese mendicant churches, such as São Domingos in Elvas (Alentejo), Santa Clara and São Francisco in Santarém (v.), Generally have a three-nave plan, divided into five bays, a protruding transept and a scalar head composed of five chapels (Tavares Chicó, 1981⁴; Dias, 1994). At the end of the century 14th and at the beginning of the 15th the construction of the Carmo monastery (od. Mus. Arquelógico) in Lisbon and the church of Santa Maria da Vitória in Batalha (v.) Began. In the latter, Portuguese Gothic art called Manueline was born, thanks to the works created by the architect Huguet (1402-1438). The first traces of the Portuguese Romanesque-Gothic monumental sculpture appeared in the representation of the apostles in the western portal and of the evangelists in each of the corners of the cloister of the cathedral of Évora, probably from the end of the century. 13th and early 14th, sculpted by masters trained in France. Similarly, the cloister of the Celas monastery near Coimbra, whose historiated capitals tell stories of the Life of Christ and Genesis, has recently been considered a transitional work with Romanesque reminiscences, datable between the end of the century. 13th and early 14th century (Graf, Mattoso, Real, 1987) The introduction of the recumbent figure in funerary art is late, having developed in the 14th century. The oldest example would be in Alcobaça the sepulchral ark of Donna Urraca (d. 1220), wife of King Alfonso II (1211-1223; Barroca, 1987; Graf, Mattoso, Real, 1987). The sarcophagus of Rodrigo Sanchez, illegitimate son of Sancho I (1185-1211), preserved in the monastery of Grijó, south of Porto, presents the apostles on the forehead inside aedicules and announces the splendor of the Gothic sculpture of the Coimbra workshops of the 13th century.


According to Justinshoes, the history of Portuguese currency began with the founder of the state Alfonso I Henriques. The first issues were deniers of billon, an alloy made up of copper and silver, initially with 25% silver; under the successive reigns of Sancho I, Alfonso II and Sancho II (1223-1248), the percentage of silver in the alloy fell to 16% and finally to 7%. This first phase was characterized by the great typological variety, with schematic engravings: stars, figures, cornflowers, letters in the field and finally small Portuguese shields of arms, fundamental theme of most of the later coins. golden marabottini (morabitinos) of Almoravid metrology, but with Christian engravings depicting a knight brandishing a sword. The issuance of coins gold did not consolidate and was abandoned after Sancho II. The monetary system was completed, after a short period of exclusive issuance of billiards, with the silver tornese (tornés) of King Dionysius (1279-1325) and with the double gold (dobra pe terra) of Ferdinand I (1367-1383). These two types of coins were inspired by French models: the tornese to its namesake and the double to the franc à pied of Charles V of France (1364-1380). However, the double followed the metrological model of the Almohad type, like the doblas of Castile. The Castilian and French typological influence were a constant in Portuguese medieval numismatics. Stylistically, the first coins can be placed within the Romanesque schematism, starting from Dionysius an increasingly Gothicizing palaeography and typology were introduced. Ferdinand I was a great innovator in coinage; the production of his kingdom is characterized by originality of types and careful execution. In gold, the sovereign introduced the dobra gentil, in reales silver with a crowned initial and Portuguese weapons, in billon the tornés with a crowned bust, the grave, the pilarte and the magnificent barbudas with a helmet on the obverse. The large billions (torneses, barbudas) placed themselves in the line of the Castilian and French blancas, thus introducing multiples of billiards. The coin types remained within the Castilian stylistic influence in the reigns from John I (1385-1433) to Alfonso V (1438-1481), with some innovations in silver (leal), with the appearance of copper (real preto) and the sage of golden shields. The most important initiative of Alfonso V was the introduction of the cruzado d’oro, a coin type that for the first time played an important international role, competing with the Venetian duchy. The expansion policy thanks to the explorations of the Portuguese and their conquest of gold guaranteed this prestigious coin which featured the shield type, but a gold content equal to the duchy.

Portugal Medieval Arts 5