Calouste Gulbenkian Museum

Calouste Gulbenkian Museum is an art museum in Lisbon that houses a collection of European fine art, as well as a number of monuments of oriental and ancient art, collected by entrepreneur Calouste Gulbenkian. It was opened on October 2, 1969 according to the will of the billionaire and is subsidized by the foundation named after him.

The museum consists of several buildings located in a beautiful park. I have visited only 2 buildings, they are located in different parts of the park. One of the buildings houses the Founder’s Collection, while the other houses the Modern Collection. I first got to the building with the main collection. There are collected about 6 thousand exhibits.

First you need to tell who Galusta Gyulbenkian was.

Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian; March 29, 1869, Istanbul – July 20, 1955, Lisbon – British financier, industrialist and philanthropist, a major oil magnate of the first half of the XX century. Co-founder of many oil companies. Founder of the Iraq Petroleum Company, pioneering oil production in the Middle East. In Russia, he is primarily known as one of the buyers of paintings from the Hermitage collection. Also known as “Oil Talleyrand” and “Mister 5 percent”.

Unlike other famous collectors who began collecting art objects already at a more or less mature age, this passion struck Calouste as a child. For 50 piastres received from his father for his academic success, a 14-year-old boy bought ancient coins at the Istanbul bazaar, which later became the basis of his richest collection of Greek coins, considered the best in the world. Gyulbenkian had a unique and peculiar aesthetic taste, and the ability to see beauty, which eventually grew into a real passion. To this, of course, was added an excellent knowledge of art, which allowed Gulbenkian to become the most famous collector of the world scale.

“A painting should be enjoyable, entertaining and eye-catching. Yes, pleasant. And without that, there are enough boring things in life. We must not increase their number, ”he once said.

Gulbenkian’s sphere of interest in art was wide. Along with art canvases, the collector with the same enthusiasm acquired rare editions, ceramics and much more, and when choosing, he was guided by the motto “I can only be satisfied with the best.”

“The way Gulbenkian used his fortune throughout his life, and the way he disposed of it in his will, demonstrates his understanding of the social function of wealth and the corresponding obligations,” write in Portugal 20 years after the death of Calouste Gulbenkian.

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