Soares dos Reis National Museum

Porto, Portugal

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.



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Founded: 1833
Category: Museums in Portugal


4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

William Lupson (6 months ago)
Can’t really complain as it was only €1.50 for students but that was honestly what it was worth. Some of the exhibits were interesting but the place was a bit depressing, overgrown garden with stagnant fountain and most rooms shuttered and closed. Layout is also very strange - climbed 3 flights of stairs for the continuation of the exhibition to find that at the top there was one room with a couple of clothes on display in it
Jasper Arts (8 months ago)
The permanent exhibition is still closed for renovation. At 16:00 we were kindly asked to leave one of the temporary exhibitions, as it was closing, while the museum itself is open till 18:00. The renaissance exhibition in the back was great.
Caroline Paganini (8 months ago)
Unfortunately the main exposition was on maintenance but a good museum with temporary art exposition. Free on Sunday until 14h only for Portugal residents, which is great. Normal days is 3€ the entrance.
Judy Backhouse (11 months ago)
Visited this museum again yesterday and was, as always, charmed by the building. It's worth a visit just to admire the ultra-high ceilings and walk up the magnificent staircase. Do go outside and admire the balconies around the courtyard. Climb the stairs to the garden. We found another garden out the far back too. It's a bit neglected, but if you use your imagination it must have been magnificent once. I last visited in 2019 and was overwhelmed by the size of the collection. This time there are a few smaller exhibitions showing just key pieces from the collection. This is a great idea, making it possible to digest in smaller bites. I also look forward to being able to visit more frequently as the exhibitions change. Only four stars because the black walls and dim lighting in one of the rooms makes it impossible for old eyes to read the small text about exhibits. When will curators figure this out? Apart from that irritation, it was a lovely morning.
David Cowan (12 months ago)
Although the main exhibition is closed there are several temporary exhibitions that make this worth the visit, offering bite-sized insight into what the museum has to offer. Hopefully the main exhibition will be open by November. Free for residents on Sunday which was a nice surprise. Also the staff were extremely helpful and friendly, and great if anyone needs help (in English)
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