Altar frontal with coat of arms of the Augustinians


National Azulejo Museum

National Azulejo Museum
Lisbon, Portugal

An altar front, also called an antependium, is a rectangular azulejo panel facing churchgoers imitating intricate tapestries with embroidery and fringes. This kind of panel was made in Lisbon but it was inspired by decorative cloth imported from China and India. The panel depicts exotic landscapes. In this Christian interpretation, the landscape suggests what paradise is like. Although the motifs are painted in blue and green over a white background, the predominant colour is yellow, which highlights the sumptuous gold used in the embroidery and fringes. One of the most original characteristics of Portuguese azulejo-making is its capacity to include motifs from other cultures and to create new meanings by combining these foreign motifs with Portuguese or European scenarios. These altar fronts, which began to appear in the mid 17th century, are examples of this capacity. Lisbon production.


  • Title: Altar frontal with coat of arms of the Augustinians
  • Date Created: 1650/1675
  • Physical Location: On deposit at MNAz, Museu Nacional do Azulejo, Lisbon, Portugal (Collection Museu Nacional de Arqueologia)
  • Physical Dimensions: 98.5 cm x 149 cm
  • Medium: Polychrome faience

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps