This museum is housed in a 17C palace and in a building that stands on the site of a 16C Carmelite convent, of which all that now remains is a Baroque chapel. It is one of the most important Portuguese museums and has a magnificent garden overlooking the River Tagus.
There are some remarkable paintings here by artists from the Portuguese school, such as Nuno Gonçalves (15C), Frei Carlos, Vasco Fernandes, Cristóvão Figueiredo, Gregório Lopes (16C), Vieira Portuense and Domingos Sequeira (18-19C), as well as permanent collections of outstanding European schools and artists (Memling, Bosch, Dürer, Holbein, Gerard David, Lucas Cranach, Morales, Pieter de Hooch, Zurbarán, Piero della Francesca, Rafael, Fragonard, Courbet, amongst others).
There are also collections of religious sculpture from the Middle Ages to the Baroque period (with some particularly beautiful cribs by Machado de Castro) and some stunning examples of decorative art: Portuguese and oriental ceramics (16-18C), furniture, carpets from Arraiolos and textiles.
Special mention must be made of the most important collection of gold and silver ware in Portugal, ranging from articles made in the Middle Ages to some magnificent 18C Baroque pieces and the extremely beautiful silver tableware made by the French Germain goldsmiths (father and son) for the Portuguese royal family.
To illustrate the special relationship between the Portuguese and different peoples from overseas, this museum has a collection of valuable decorative pieces from Africa, India and China, including carved ivory, furniture, embroidery, silverware, porcelain, silks and a collection of Namban art, with Japanese screens and lacquerware.