Saturday, August 27, 2011
Located in the Alentejo region, South of Portugal, Grândola (once named Bendada) was an important reference for the pilgrims going to Santiago de Compustela.
Its most famous location starts at São Vicente cape and reaches Odemira, Santiago do Cacém and Alcácer do Sal.
There, a small 15th century hospital ran by the Misericórdia (a charitable institution founded in 1498), would lodge the pilgrims after their difficult path through the ridge of mountains.
When the hermitage (small church)of São Sebastião was built in 1578, in the outskirts of Grândola, near the royal road, with the purpose of protecting the population from the plague, imediately became a visiting point for the pilgrims.
Once an old pilgramage passing spot, in the recent years this small church was being used to hold wakes.
In 2010, with the initiative of the local parish, in colaboration with the diocese of Beja and the city council, the church of São Sebastião was selected to become the Sacred Art Museum of Grândola (Museu de Arte Sacra de Grândola), and in Feburary 2011 it opened its doors to the public.
On August 23, 2011, the museum inaugurated its permanent exhibition.
Comprised of 100 pieces, mostly includes paintings and decorative art between 15th and 20th centuries.
Visiting the exhibition, it's possible to have an idea of some of the most important aspects of the religious quotidian of those times, including some aspects of the liturgic cult, devotions and the organization of parishes.
The retable of "São Jorge e o Ladrão", painted in 1961 by José Escada for the church of Lousal's mine, is one of the items representing the contemporary.
The exhibition is divided in three areas and shows items coming from the churches of Azinheira dos Barros, Santa Margarida da Serra, and from the Irmandade da Santa Casa da Misericórdia.