The Annunciation (part of the Santos-o-Novo Altarpiece)

Gregório Lopes16th century

MNAA National Museum of Ancient Art

MNAA National Museum of Ancient Art
Lisbon, Portugal

The Monastery of Comendadeiras de Santos-o-Novo, in the east
of Lisbon, close to Xabregas, was a retreat where, after 1490,
distinguished widows and daughters of the knights of the Order
of Santiago de Espada (St. James of the Sword) sought shelter. The
mother of the Grandmaster of the Order, Dona Ana de Mendonça,
was the prioress there at the time when the church’s chancel received
this altarpiece, which was certainly commissioned either by her or
her son, Dom Jorge de Lencastre (1481-1550), the illegitimate son of
Dom João II. The panels of this altarpiece have been attributed to the
painter Gregório Lopes, who also enjoyed a close relationship with
Dom Jorge, who, in 1520, had exceptionally awarded him the status of
a Knight of St. James.
The paintings of the altarpiece have clear affinities with those that
were made by Lopes, circa 1535-1540, for the Rotunda of the Convent
of Cristo (two of these are exhibited in this room) and for the Church
of São João Batista in Tomar. Revealed here are new concerns
regarding the relationship of the figures with the space, increasing
the scenic depth of each representation, and the systematic adoption
of architectures said to be painted “in the Roman style”, understood
as a repertoire of a “classicism” that extended profusely to the items
of goldware and the coats of arms. The paintings also reflect a
special taste for enlivening the backgrounds, which were made with
loose, constructive brushstrokes and with great sophistication in the
movement of the fabrics. In the Monastery of Santos-o-Novo, have
been preserved some fragments of a Calvary that must have belonged
to the upper row of this altarpiece.


  • Title: The Annunciation (part of the Santos-o-Novo Altarpiece)
  • Creator: Gregório Lopes
  • Date Created: 16th century
  • Location Created: Portugal
  • Physical Dimensions: 135.5 cm x 113.5 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: MNAA Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, inv. 1170 Pint
  • Medium: Oil on oak panel

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