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Belém Tower

SERRES, John Thomas (1759-1825)




Part of a comprehensive plan to defend the Tagus estuary, Saint Vincent Tower in Belém, named in tribute to the city’s patron saint, was built between 1514 and 1520, strategically placed on the north bank of the river, opposite the Tower of Saint Sebastian of Caparica.

It was designed by Francisco de Arruda (d. 1547), an expert in military architecture and responsible for various works in North Africa. It is composed of two different bodies: the bulwark, which extends towards the middle of the river, and the quadrangular tower, reminiscent of Portuguese keep towers from the late Gothic period.

This work, painted by John Thomas Serres, who also painted the Tower of Saint Sebastian of Caparica, was seemingly created following the trips he made to record the coastline and document enemy positions.

3 Torre de Belem Museu de Lisboa.jpg

© Museu de Lisboa