Monday, October 20, 2014

LISBON: PALACIO NACIONAL DE QUELUZ

The National Palace of Queluz began as a hunting lodge for the Portuguese royal family but was transformed in the mid-18th century to a summer palace.  My overall impression of the palace was of interiors consisting of a long series of sumptuous rooms that were just a bit faded and an exterior of highly manicured, well maintained, sculpture-filled gardens surrounded by buildings in need of a little maintenance.

First, the interior.  I have to confess that I was a bit more focused on trying to get interesting photos (at least from my point of view) than of keeping track of the various uses of the rooms that we toured.  But what struck me was the enormous amount of time and skill that went into the artwork in each of the many rooms that we walked through.  Here first are a couple of broader shots of various of the scenes.



In the above shot, I liked that the ceiling detail was being reflected in the windows in the lower part of the image.

Following are some of the detail shots that I took to illustrate the point regarding workmanship.  The first is of the same ceiling detail shown in the prior photo.






And here are a couple of shots of one of the featured rooms that I think nicely illustrate the palace's overall hyper-busy Rococo styling.



This is what happens when one had a surfeit of wealth, at least in the 18th century.

To an extent, the palace was designed as a series of rooms connected linearly, one room after another--or so it seemed.  And I found myself attempting to capture that feature by shooting back through the series of doorways connecting the various rooms.  This was made more difficult by visitors wandering from room to room.  Repeatedly, I was hanging back so that I was that last of our group, probably to the dismay of our tour guide.  The following was the best of my efforts.  I did like how the sun was reflecting off the floors in the various rooms and that, again, ceiling features were being reflected in the transom windows.


Finally, here is a shot out of the exterior through one of the windows that I thought worked well as an exercise in framing.  I was OK with the fact that the exterior looked a bit "faded."


Now for the exterior.  First, a symmetrical photo of the main building, showing some of the statuary in the foreground.


And another shot of the grounds highlighting a couple of those sculptures, as well as the well manicured shrubbery.


Below is a shot of a bath structure that, if I heard our guide properly, also served as a canal for small boating excursions.


Lastly, I liked the following exterior photo that featured an open door.


I think this shot also illustrates the facility's need for some exterior maintenance.  But perhaps that need simply adds to the palace's overall decadent charm.

John

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