At your fingertips

At your fingertips

8th July 2018to30th September 2018

Photography exhibition by Luís Pavão


Each detail of the exquisitely-wrought stone sculptures surrounding the Monument to the Discoveries, which one can but imagine when looking at the monument from a distance, is striking when seen from up close.

The second annual exhibition to be held at the Monument to the Discoveries during the European Year of Cultural Heritage, will showcase the photography of Luís Pavão, in order to shine a spotlight on the preservation works made to the monument.

Between July and December of 2016, Luís Pavão documented the restoration and cleaning works made to the Monument to the Discoveries. His work produced a series of close-ups of the protagonists of the Portuguese Expansion. In these photos, taken from the vantage point of the scaffolds, one discovers a profusion of detail a mere arm’s length away, illuminated by the daylight filtering through pinprick holes in the scaffolding, or by the artificial lights, at night.

The photography of Luís Pavão allows us a new perspective of these sculptures. His photographs are an intense visual and sensual experience; you see and feel all the artist’s work, the detail, the texture of the stone, the coarseness of the boots, the intricacy of the noses, mouths and eyes, the chisel work of the Sculptor, the volume and shape at your very fingertips.

This exhibition also serves as an opportunity to learn more about the history of the Monument to the Discoveries, created by the moviemaker and architect Cottinelli Telmo (1897–1948) and the master sculptor Leopoldo de Almeida (1898–1975). The ill-fated first version of the monument, built out of plaster and mortar in 1940 for the Portuguese World Exhibition, was soon destroyed by a gale in January 1941. It was rebuilt twenty years later, using the original plans, for the commemorations of the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator, this time under the guidance of António Pardal Monteiro (1928-2012). This second version of the Monument was supported by a reinforced concrete structure designed by Edgar Cardoso (1913-2000) and sculptures carved out of Sintra limestone by Leopoldo de Almeida.

Standing tall on the city’s waterfront, the Monument to the Discoveries, designed in the shape of a caravel, and the Compass Rose adorning the square behind it, stand as a testament to the history of Portuguese Expansion and the stories of the men celebrated in its sculptures.

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