MNAC - Rua Capelo

entry: General Conditions

Carlos Relvas (1838-1894) - Rediscovered Views of Portugal

Photography in the European Salons

Curatorship: Victor Flores, Ana David Mendes, Denis Pellerin, Emília Tavares

Carlos Relvas is one of the most renowned amateur photographers in the history of 19th century Portuguese photography. This exhibition is based on a research project (CICANT— Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias) dedicated to the study of the stereoscopic photography by Carlos Relvas, and its importance during the early years of his career, between 1862 and 1874.

This is one of the least-known periods in Carlos Relvas’ photography. In order to study it, images from the Carlos Relvas House-Studio archive were combined with those from the collections of five different institutions and private collectors, disclosing a considerable set of original albumen prints. This ambitious survey allowed the rediscovery of portraits and views of Portugal which display a rigorous practice of different techniques, genres and photographic formats, offering a broader and more dynamic overview of Carlos Relvas’ early photographic work.

Organised into ten main sections, the exhibition showcases Carlos Relvas’ first exhibition at the Sociedade Promotora de Belas Artes in 1868 and the outset of his international career, with participation in the exhibitions of some of the main European photography salons, including the reputed Société Française de Photographie, the World Exposition in Vienna and the National Exhibition in Madrid.

By examining the photographer’s work from this period, it is possible to delve deeper into some of the fundamental themes in 19th century Portuguese photography and to reveal new facets of it. These include the complicity between Carlos Relvas and some of the most important painters from this period, allowing the nature of the dialogue between photography and 19th century Portuguese painting to be outlined for the first time. Another such facet is the predominance of heritage and landscape photography in the salons of the time as an ideal way of promoting the country, through a prolific output which focused on some of the preferred sites of Portuguese Romanticism, and others which became iconic landmarks of national identity.

The exhibition also casts the spotlight on the skilled portrait photographer, with an analysis of the evolution of this type of photography throughout his career, from his first, improvised studio to the technical and architectural sophistication of his second, one of the rare 19th century photography studios to be built from scratch, which still stands in Relvas’ native Golegã.

An investigation into an artist and an era, once again supported by the MNAC-MC, in the production and dissemination of novel research projects which allow the history of photography in Portugal to be discovered.

Victor Flores, Ana David Mendes, Denis Pellerin and Emília Tavares

Press Clipping


    2018-10-18 18h30
    not available
    2018-10-27 14h00
    Forget the Selfies, Come and Take a Picture!
    2018-11-14 18h30
    not available
    2018-11-22 15h00
    not available
    2018-11-28 18h30
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All Activities 3

On Exhibition

CAIS Urbana

Curatorship: Mistaker Maker
the 25 years of the Association CAIS
Temporary Exhibition

Inês Norton. Please do (not) touch

Curatorship: Adelaide Ginga e Emília Ferreira
Inês Norton exhibition, reminds us of the urgency of regaining full consciousness of our body. At the cost of surely losing touch with the essence of what it means to be human
Solo show

not available

Curatorship: Adelaide Ginga
Interactive exhibition consisting of Part II of the CT1LN Project, that had the motto of a radio amateur collection.The second part, which is presented here, leaves the public with the possibility of exploring the theme
Solo show

Rui Macedo. (In)dispensable or Painting that Unsettles the Museum’s Collection.

Curatorship: Emília Ferreira
Reminding us that an artist is a hunter-gatherer, a collector of meanings, forms, problems and proposals, this exhibition highlights the fact that a museum is a place of constant and unsettling discovery.
Temporary Exhibition

not available

Curatorship: Luis Alegre e Adelaide Ginga
not available yet
Colective Exhibition


Curatorship: Maria de Aires Silveira, Emília Tavares, Emília Ferreira
The current exhibition of the collection covers a sizeable part of its temporal arc, from the mid-19th century to the 1980s, occupying the entirety of the galleries in the Museum wing located in Rua Serpa Pinto.
Collection exhibition