I frequently walk by this beautiful portico in Évora. It is the entrance to the city’s cemetery, near the Convent of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, not far from the bus station. This is one example that in Évora you have to walk slowly if you want to appreciate what best this city has to offer.
This portico came from the Dominican Convent of S. Domingos, which was demolished soon after the extinction of the religious orders in 1834. It was probably installed here in 1844, according to the date on the cast-iron gate which reads “CAMARA 1844”.
This beautiful piece of art dates from 1536-1537 and is attributed to French sculptor and architect Nicolau Chanterene (c.1485-1551), who was working in Évora during this period. Chanterene worked on the churches of S. João Evangelista (Convent of Lóios), Nossa Senhora da Graça (see photo below), Nossa Senhora do Paraíso and S. Domingos.
During these decades Évora was one of the most culturally active Portuguese cities, mostly due to the long-stay of the King in the city. By this time D. Afonso de Portugal (1509-1540), King João III’s fourth son. In 1523 he became Bishop of Évora and by the end of the 1520s Mateus d’Aranda, a Spanish musician and theorist who had studied in Alcalá de Henares, came to Évora as director of music (chapel master) of the Cathedral. The video below is the recording I made with Ensemble Eborensis of Aranda’s only complete extant work. It is a Lenten motet for four voices, Adjuva nos Deus, very simple in construction and that illustrates the musical writing of the time.