Almancil: Igreja de São Lourenço

Baroque church near Almancil, completely decorated with tiles

Built in the first half of the 18th century, the charming Chapel of São Lourenço dos Matos provides the very best example of Algarve baroque decorative tile work, in itself sufficient to justify a visit to the town of Almancil, in the municipality of Loulé. Considered to be one of the finest art treasures in southern Portugal, this church has a single longitudinal nave, with side chapels and a quadrangular chancel surmounted by a dome covered in figurative tiles, the whole combining to create a fine example of religious architecture.

The tiles, in tones of blue and white, covering the walls of the nave and the vaulted ceiling, create a striking visual impression as they remind visitors of the story of St. Lourenço. The breathtaking eight panels of 18th-century tiles were designed by Policarpo de Oliveira Bernardes and depict the various phases in the life of the saint after whom the chapel was named. A highly theatrical composition, the panels feature billowing curtains, angels bearing medallions and garlands of flowers and leaves, creating a highly dynamic impact and an overall effect that is very rich in detail.

In the chancel, in addition to the tiles, attention is drawn to the carved and gilded wooden altarpiece, also baroque in style, and the representation of São Lourenço, believed to be the work of Manuel Martins, the greatest woodcarver and sculptor in the Algarve at that time. The decorative effect of the chapel is further enhanced by the harmoniously carved religious images from the 17th and 18th centuries.

This information is extracted with friendly permission of RTA from their Website.

São Lourenço

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