São Roque Church has a Renaissance façade that hides a surprising and exuberant interior of gold, marble and azulejos (hand-painted tile panels).
The church has a succession of nine chapels, four altars, a unique ceiling painting in the Mannerist style, using the trompe-l’oeil art technique, and a sacristy with three overlapping series of paintings bearing artistic value.
Look for the Chapel of St. John the Baptist, to the left of the main altar, made of amethyst, alabaster, lápis-lazúli and Carrara marble. The chapel was erected in Rome in the eighteenth century by Italian architects for the Pope Benedict XIV to celebrate Mass in. Then, it was dismantled and shipped to Lisbon.
Founded in 1905, it was one of the first Portuguese art museums. It presents a timeline from the old hermitage of São Roque to the history of Santa Casa da Misericórdia, the Portuguese religious charity, founded in Lisbon in 1498, that owns the building since the second half of the eighteenth century.
The São Roque Museum has an entire section dedicated to the history of the Society of Jesus. Other sections highlight oriental art, as well as the most valuable objects in the Chapel of St. John the Baptist.
There’s a café in the beautiful cloister of oriental atmosphere (temporarily closed at the the time of writing).
Largo Trindade Coelho, www.museu-saoroque.com