Photograph: Paulo Mendes
© Biblioteca Geral Universidade Coimbra
Biblioteca Joanina da Universidade de Coimbra
Casa da Livraria (Library house)
Parish of Sé Nova, Coimbra, Portugal
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]
The Library of the University of Coimbra is an important example of civil Baroque architecture during the reign of King João V, and one of the most beautiful libraries in Europe. The main façade, with its four huge monolithic columns and arches connecting three spacious interior rooms, underline the notion that these are royal entrances to knowledge stored away in the library bookcases that cover the walls.
On the wall facing the door is a portrait of King João V by the royal painter G. D. Duprà. The allegorical trompe l'oeil ceiling paintings by Simões Ribeiro (1723) create the illusion of the library being larger than it really is.
Copyright images: Biblioteca Geral da Universidade de Coimbra.
Historical Cross Referencing
Historical and Artistic Introduction