Convent of Jesus/Setúbal Museum
The Convent and Church of Jesus are major landmarks in the history of Portuguese architecture, marking the beginning of the Manueline style.
The project emerged towards the end of the 15th century, when Justa Rodrigues Pereira – nanny to King Manuel I – joined forces with the Vatican and the Royal Court to build a convent.
The construction began in 1490 and is believed to have ended in 1496. It was led by Diogo Boitaca, who also participated in the construction of monuments such as the Jerónimos Monastery, the Belém Tower and the Monastery of Batalha.
The Church of Jesus is considered to be the first hall church built in Portugal, designed as a homogeneously illuminated space. The Convent of Jesus displays innovative solutions for the era, such as the perfectly rounded arches, vaults supported by elliptical arches and the ribs on the ceilings.
With the extinction of the religious orders in 1888, the building was converted into the Misericórdia Hospital, which operated there until 1959.
The Church of Jesus, as well as the cloister and Chapter House of the Convent, have been listed as national monuments since 1910 and 1933.
Setúbal Museum has been operating in the Convent of Jesus since 1961, but due to the works taking place in the building, the Museum’s exhibition centre is now located in the Municipal Gallery of the Bank of Portugal.