What these phenomena reveal is the duality of these encounters.
Europe’s imitation and reinterpretation of Asia which emerged in the 17th century finally gave rise to a “taste for the Orient” in the 18th century, a craze that crisscrossed Europe from St. Petersburg to Lisbon and from London to Aranjuez and Naples. Chinoiserie was part of this process. By the 19th century the “Orient” had been re-oriented in the eyes of Europe to embrace not only the “Far East” but also the “Middle East” and North Africa. Eastern Europe had been in contact with the “Orient” long before, however, because of its geographic proximity; a similar story applies to the Iberian Peninsula and the “Arab world” also. What these phenomena reveal is the duality of these encounters; not only by the interactions between Europe and different cultures and civilizations, but also how Europe projected itself.
Architects: Gaspar Ferreira, Manuel Moreira; supervisor: João Carvalho Ferreira; stonemason: António Martins João; glazier: André Salgado; facade: attributed to Claude de Laprade; bookshelves: Gaspar Ferreira; woodwork: Francesco Gualdini; painting: Domenico Duprà, António Simões Ribeiro; ceiling paintings: Vicente Nunes, Manuel da Silva (chinoiserie) [dates unknown]
In Coimbra University library the chinoiserie motifs on the bookshelves entice the visitor with a taste of exoticism while the allegorical ceiling paintings recall the globalised world built under the Portuguese. On the wall facing the door is a portrait of King João V by the court painter G. D. Duprà.