Mateus Palace

Vila Real


The Palace, House or Solar de Mateus is one of the mst significant Portuguese civil architecture buildings of the Baroque Period.

In fact, despite the many issues about the authors that are still not very clear, in this sumptuous manor house it is possible to observe two architectonic models of higher erudition. And not only for the decorative motives of the façade, as it is common in most of the building s of this period.

Here one can find all the Baroque architecture elements, namely symmetry, axiality, the uninterrupted frontons, the balustrades, the stairways and the high pinnacles.

The construction date is not certain. In 1743 the archbishop D. José de Bragança was informed that António José Botelho Mourão had demolished a palace to build another one way better.

This chronology only coincides with the epoch when the Italian Architect Nicolau Nasoni worked in the Santa Eulália da Cumeeira Church (1739), and for two year his whereabouts are not known, before returning to Oporto somewhere around 1742. This information consolidate the attribution of the Mateus Manor House works to Nasoni, as its similarities to some of the authors other works are quite evident.
Some say that to Nasony can only be attributed the stairway and the entrance yard with direct access of carriages to the posterior garden.
The decoration excess and the insertion of elements unknown to Nasoni work lead to the consideration that the architect’s compositions may have been made afterwards, with some differences.

The Chapel, on the extension of one of the façade sides, presents several similarities with the Nova Church in Vila Real, where worked José de Figueiredo Seixas that is considered to be one of the artists that prolonged in a way the lesson of the Tuscan artist.

Nowadays the Mateus House is managed by the Foundation with the same name, founded in 1971, and directed by the family. Several cultural activities (music concerts and courses, exhibitions, the literary award D, Dinis, congresses, seminars, among others) are often organized, and also the library and the museum are opened to the public.

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