Soares dos Reis National Museum is the first Portuguese national museum exhibiting collections of Portuguese art, including a collection by Portuguese sculptor António Soares dos Reis, from which the museum derives its name.
The museum was founded in 1833 as Museum Portuense by King Peter IV. Initially it was housed in the Convent of Santo António (in the centre of Porto), exhibiting religious art confiscated from Portuguese convents, and those works of art expropriated from the absolutist followers of Miguel I (who had struggled against Peter IV a year before).
During the 19th century the museum made several acquisitions that were integrated into the main collection.
But, it was in 1911 that the museum obtained its collection of work by Soares dos Reis, a celebrated Portuense sculptor, taking on the name of its benefactor.
In 1942 the museum was transferred from the centre of the city to the former-residence of the Moraes e Castro family, known commonly as the Carrancas (which means scowlers/frowners, a passing reference to the disapproving nature of its members). The large building provided the spaces and conditions to store and exhibit the collections. Over time, the spaces were expanded and modernised under a project by architect Fernando Távora.
The museum has a vast collection mainly focused on Portuguese art of the 19th and 20th centuries, including painting, sculpture, furniture, metalwork and ceramics.
Artists represented include painters Domingos Sequeira, Vieira Portuense, Augusto Roquemont, Miguel Ângelo Lupi, António Carvalho de Silva Porto, Marques de Oliveira, Henrique Pousão, Aurélia de Souza, Dórdio Gomes, Júlio Resende and sculptors Soares do Reis, Augusto Santo, António Teixeira Lopes, Rodolfo Pinto do Couto and many others.References:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.