This panel, representing a vase of flowers, was part of a set executed for the Convent of Nossa Senhora da Esperança in Lisbon. It was composed of at least eight panels, six of which with the same typology, which was dispersed after the last decade of the 19th century. These flower vases were highly decorative and had an underlying symbolic connotation. In all the panels of this series the vase is identical, only the flanking elements, in this case parrots, but they might also be peacocks and seraphim, change (National Museum of Archaeology, Inv. 6640, on deposit at MNAz). The likely iconographic source for the entire series were paintings by Jacob Kempener, which no longer exist, which were recurrently engraved by many authors, including Jan Theodor de Bry and I. Picquet Junior. From a symbolic point of view, panels with vases of flowers could refer to a representation of the theological virtue of Hope, as indicated by contemporary Portuguese literature, namely a treatise on symbolism by Friar Isidoro de Barreira printed in Lisbon in 1622. The end destination of this series enables us to uncover the direct link between the iconographic programme and the invocation of the religious house where it was applied. This is also confirmed by the presence, still in situ, of similar panels in the church of the Convent of Nossa Senhora da Esperança in Alcáçovas, Alentejo. Here, the azulejos appear in window embrasures without the figures that in the Lisbon series flank the flowered vases, given the need to adapt to the architectural structure.


  • Title: Flower Vase
  • Date Created: 1650/1675
  • Physical Location: MNAz, Museu Nacional do Azulejo, Lisbon, Portugal
  • Physical Dimensions: 185 x 142 cm
  • Provenance: Convento de Nossa Senhora da Esperança, Lisbon
  • Medium: Polychrome faience, Faiança policroma

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