E.J.Wilkins

15 May 2008 1,078 views
 
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photoblog image Monument to the Discoveries / Padrão dos descobrimentos

Monument to the Discoveries / Padr√£o dos descobrimentos


Standing on the north bank of the Tagus at Belém, near Lisbon, this astonishing monument was originally built of concrete in 1940 for the World Fair / Exposição do Mundo Português. It was rebuilt in stone in 1960, to commemorate and celebrate the life of Henry the Navigator who died five hundred years earlier, in 1460.

The structure was designed by Cottinelli Telmo and Leopoldo de Almeida. It was never intended to be permanent, but it struck a chord and has become a major tourist attraction in its' own right. It stands at 52 metres (approx 170 ft) tall, I'm not sure of the other dimensions, but it's quite narrow.

Inside there are displays showing Portuguese history, with some very nice reproductions of paintings, also an activity and education area for children. A lift takes visitors to a fairly small viewing platform which gives superb views of Belém and the Tagus, also a huge mosaic pavement portraying a world map surrounded by a compass rose, which was presented to the city by South Africa in 1960.

What you see here is the prow of a stylised ship. Prince Henry is at the front holding a model caravel - sailing ship - same as the one on the building in Cascais that I showed yesterday. Behind him are lined up thirty men and women who contributed in their various ways to Portuguese culture and exploration, both before and after Henry's death - fifteen people on each side of the building. It's been criticised as being over-romantic, but it's a wonderful structure, and what's wrong with singing the praises of your own countrymen and their achievements?

This shows part of the west face. Immediately behind Prince Henry are (King) Dom Afonso V (1432-81) and Vasco da Gama (1469-1524). Camoes, the poet, (1524-1580) is at the lower edge of the picture holding an open scroll - the latter two are buried in the Monastery over the road.

There's a full list of individuals in - Wikipedia -. I did, once, see something online that had a mouse-over to show who's who, but unfortunately I didn't save the link and can't find it again. I'll keep looking.
.

Monument to the Discoveries / Padr√£o dos descobrimentos


Standing on the north bank of the Tagus at Belém, near Lisbon, this astonishing monument was originally built of concrete in 1940 for the World Fair / Exposição do Mundo Português. It was rebuilt in stone in 1960, to commemorate and celebrate the life of Henry the Navigator who died five hundred years earlier, in 1460.

The structure was designed by Cottinelli Telmo and Leopoldo de Almeida. It was never intended to be permanent, but it struck a chord and has become a major tourist attraction in its' own right. It stands at 52 metres (approx 170 ft) tall, I'm not sure of the other dimensions, but it's quite narrow.

Inside there are displays showing Portuguese history, with some very nice reproductions of paintings, also an activity and education area for children. A lift takes visitors to a fairly small viewing platform which gives superb views of Belém and the Tagus, also a huge mosaic pavement portraying a world map surrounded by a compass rose, which was presented to the city by South Africa in 1960.

What you see here is the prow of a stylised ship. Prince Henry is at the front holding a model caravel - sailing ship - same as the one on the building in Cascais that I showed yesterday. Behind him are lined up thirty men and women who contributed in their various ways to Portuguese culture and exploration, both before and after Henry's death - fifteen people on each side of the building. It's been criticised as being over-romantic, but it's a wonderful structure, and what's wrong with singing the praises of your own countrymen and their achievements?

This shows part of the west face. Immediately behind Prince Henry are (King) Dom Afonso V (1432-81) and Vasco da Gama (1469-1524). Camoes, the poet, (1524-1580) is at the lower edge of the picture holding an open scroll - the latter two are buried in the Monastery over the road.

There's a full list of individuals in - Wikipedia -. I did, once, see something online that had a mouse-over to show who's who, but unfortunately I didn't save the link and can't find it again. I'll keep looking.
.

comments (18)

What fine work this is. Thanks for bringing it to us.
  • ray
  • Thailand
  • 15 May 2008, 02:35
Brilliant image of what must be a spectacular, if impermanent, structure.
Really love this post, Ellie.
EJWilkins: Umm, this one's permanent now Ray, they rebuilt it using stone. wink
  • vintage
  • Australia
  • 15 May 2008, 02:41
Great photo lots of information thanks
  • Larry Bliss
  • Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
  • 15 May 2008, 02:43
A marvelously monumental pic, Ellie.
  • Astrid
  • vacation.....on Texel....
  • 15 May 2008, 05:59
Great brave men...I hated history in school, only I was right awake when they talked about the great ones who discovered the world...
This is a brilliantly made scene, the details so sharp, great composition.
Thanks for the information with it.
EJWilkins: I didn't enjoy it either, the syllabus and the way it was taught probably had some impact, but there's history everywhere you look and some of it is truly fascinating.
  • Ron S
  • home - at last
  • 15 May 2008, 07:25
Well shot in, what look like, quite difficult circumstances.

What's wrong you ask. Well nothing but it's important to remember in parallel, the barbarism dealt out to the native people who were subjugated and the desperately awful conditions endured by the explorers themselves - both those who survived and the unfortunates who did not.
EJWilkins: Yes, it was quite a gloomy day, poured with rain soon after this.
My thoughts about "what's wrong" is that what was achieved and done needs to be taken in context with the time. I'm not an apologist for my forebears, although I know some people are.
I think the criticism of this piece was because it was over-romanticised, a bit nationalistic and idealistic. At the time the country was ruled by António de Oliveira Salazar, and was neutral during WWII so perhaps needed a bit of a boost. I don't really know enough about it.
Great angle here to shoot this beautiful monument! Thanks for the information.
  • Tracy
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 15 May 2008, 07:50
Great shot Ellie and thaanks for the info too.
Lovely detailsmile
  • Ginnie
  • in Amsterdam, Holland, right now
  • 15 May 2008, 08:58
Spectacular, Ellie. Stuff like this never ceases to amaze me! It makes history come alive!
EJWilkins: It sure does Ginnie, although it'd help a bit if I could say who is who! wink
Wonderful sculpture Ellie
  • Ian
  • Newcastle
  • 15 May 2008, 14:38
This one is even better. You get the sense of a perilous adventure. They are all about to leap off into the unknown. No wonder one of them is praying.
EJWilkins: Glad you spotted the progression wink
What a wonderful statue you have found for us Ellie, the artistry of the sculptor is amazing and you have done both him and yourself justice with this shot.
  • chad
  • In front of a computer
  • 15 May 2008, 19:31
I have been there and seemn it. Wonderful work, Ellie.
  • Alan
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 15 May 2008, 20:01
Fascinating notes, Ellie.. it really helps the viewer to appreciate the image even more.
It's a terrific structure. I keep thinking the guy at the back is shouting "don't jump"
EJWilkins: I thought he was giving a hefty push! tongue
  • Louis
  • South Africa
  • 15 May 2008, 23:03
Very special and a great composition.

Old Vasco is our man who discovered the sea route around our Cape
EJWilkins: He did quite a bit, didn't he. I can't imagine how it must have felt to get into a ship and just sail away like that. I'm bad enough when I can look at a map and see where I'm supposed to be landing!
Great. Its always nice to find someone that loves my city...
EJWilkins: Hi Marco. It's so easy, you've got a truly beautiful city, a wonderful country and some lovely, lovely people smile
  • monika
  • London
  • 16 May 2008, 23:12
I like the way the seagull sails above figures. It gives if so 'sea feel' smile BTW it must be one of the most often photographed monuments in Lisbon (my vision: http://www.monika.shutterchance.com/photoblog/Discoveries_/)
EJWilkins: *grin* I was lucky. I think it probably is among the most photographed because it's so accessible. Did you go inside?

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