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The Soares Dos Reis Museum is located at Rua Don Manuel II. This museum is the oldest museum in Portugal and the most important museum in Porto. Its location is the Palace (Palácio) dos Carrancas, built in 1795 for the Moraes e Castro Family. The Duke of Wellington spent a night there when he was fighting the forces of Napoleon during the Peninsular War. The museum itself was founded in 1833 and has a large collection of art that came from monasteries and convents that were expropriated by the government. There is painting, sculpture, glass, ceramics, jewelry and archaeology. What is most importrant about this museum is that is contains various elements of Porto life in the nineteeth century. Also, the Porto school of painters is represented there. The main styles represented at the museum are Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Realism and Naturalism. Most of the Portuguese painters and sculptors studied and worked in Porto. The most important work is a piece of beautiful sculpture called “O Desterrado”, The Exiled, by the sculptor António Soares dos Reis (1847-1889). It is a Neoclassical work and is considered the masterpiece of Portuguese sculpture. The museum is named after him. There are also Flemish and French paintings by François Clouet and Jean Pillement. Temporary exhibtions dislay new works and unseen personal objects that portray a life, a time, a happenning, a person; and sometimes interactions between traditional and contemporary art practices.
Interested in Romanticism or life in Porto in the nineteeth century? Visit also Museu Romântico do Porto, nearby, and Caminhos do Romântico.