‏‏‎ South Portal - detail

João de Castilho and Diogo de Boitaca

Jerónimos Monastery

Jerónimos Monastery
Lisbon, Portugal

Following a design by Diogo de Boitaca, the South Portal was built between 1516 and 1518 by João de Castilho and his team. The South Portal is the visual centre of the Monastery's façade facing the River Tagus but despite its sumptuous detail it is merely a side entrance.

The Church and Monastery are dedicated to Our Lady and the central figure of the portal is Our Lady of Bethlehem (Belém in Portuguese) with Child. She holds in her hand a cup with gifts from the Magi. The Virgin is flanked by a multitude of statues representing the prophets, the apostles, Church notables and saints (possibly sibyls).

The tympanum features two scenes from the life of St. Jerome - one in which, in the robes of a cardinal, he removes a thorn from a lion's paw and another in which he pays penance in the desert. In the spandrel between these scenes is Manuel I's coat of arms.

Below, between the twin doors of the church, is a statue representing Henry the Navigator as a knight in armour. This is a tribute to this predecessor of Manuel I who founded the Restelo Chapel and was a driving force behind the Portuguese Discoveries.

Dominating the whole composition is a statue of the Archangel Michael at its very top.


  • Title: ‏‏‎ South Portal - detail
  • Creator: João de Castilho, Diogo de Boitaca
  • Date Created: 16th century
  • Location Created: Belém, Lisbon, Portugal
  • Type: Monastery
  • Rights: DGPC/ADF
  • Medium: Limestone

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