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Machado de Castro in Lisbon: The Laboratory of Sculpture 

11 May 2022 — 08 Jan 202310h – 18h

3 € (grants access to the whole venue)

Tickets available at

It is impossible to dissociate the figure of Joaquim Machado de Castro from the equestrian statue of King José which still stands at the centre of Lisbon's main square. The monument was completed over five years and its history has had some surprising episodes, including the sculptor himself being forbidden to attend the inauguration ceremony.

While the statue of the king was neither the first nor the last work in Machado de Castro's career, and while it is debatable whether it was his most avant-garde project or his greatest personal achievement, it was doubtlessly the major turning point of his career

After the unveiling of the statue of King José in 1775, the sculptor expanded his client network and his name became associated with the most prestigious works taking place in the capital between the late 18th century and the first decades of the following century. 

The Royal Sculptor from 1782 and leader of a Sculpture Laboratory where an innovative learning and artistic practice methodology was implemented, Machado de Castro designed the sculptural programmes for the Estrela Basilica and the Ajuda Palace, and was behind significant aspects of the former Convent of Nossa Senhora da Luz de Arroios, the São Vicente de Fora Monastery, Lisbon Cathedral and the former Royal Belem Estate (today the Belem National Palace).

On the 200th anniversary of the sculptor's death, the exhibition «Machado de Castro in Lisbon: The Laboratory of Sculpture» tells the complex story of the conception and realisation of the equestrian statue of King José and revisits the extensive artistic legacy left in Lisbon by a figure as charismatic as he was controversial, the ultimate Baroque sculptor in a time of change.


Image Caption
Joaquim Machado de Castro presents the model of the Equestrian Statue of King José I to the Marquis of Pombal
SENDIM, Mauricio José do Carmo (1786-1870)


© Museu de Lisboa