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Museu de Arte Sacra

Institution

The museum is located in a monastery, o Mosteiro da Luz, built and founded by friar Antonio de Sant’ Anna Galvão in 1774. This is a very important building in the city for its historical relevance and architectural features of the XVIII century.

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At first, we visited the monastery next to the museum. We could appreciate the building and some statues in the back. Along the lateral walls, a little door led to a small room in which visitors could give gifts to the monastery in exchange for some “pills”, little rolled pieces of paper, that looked like pills, on which a sentence from the Holy Bible was written. According to legend, by eating those “pills”, a child in pain was restored and it was considered a miracle conducted by friar Antonio de Sant’ Anna Galvão, to which the church is devoted. Typical rituals were regularly performed in the church.

In the museum, the statues of saints were often without hands: when these statues were used in the daily life, people would express wishes and then take the saint’s hands off. When the wish was realized they would put the hands back. The rooms were full of altars, statues, paintings, etc.

Assistants of the museum, explained the meaning of some symbolic marks, especially evident on the altars. For example, the sun, sunflowers, a rooster are all symbols that represent God.

The last section we saw was devoted to crèches. In a specific room many crèches were collected, coming from different parts of the world.

by Alice Pellegatta

Museu de Arte Sacra website

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