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Chapel of Saint John the Baptist

Capela de São João Baptista
Chapel of Saint John the Baptist

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This chapel is considered one of the great attractions of the São Roque church due to how clearly it represents the influence of European art on Portugal in the 18th century. It combines aspects of the rocaille style into a structure notable for its austere neo-classical lines. It was ordered from Italy in 1740 by king João V, and had its official Lisbon inauguration in 1750. Italian architects Luigi Vanvitelli and Nicola Salvi oversaw a project which involved over 130 craftsman.

Before being dispatched to Lisbon, it was blessed by Pope Benedict XIV, in the Church of Saint Anthony the Portuguese. Three ships were used in its transport. The inlays and precious stones covering the entire chapel, on the specific request of the Portuguese court, are impressive. Among others, close attention reveals lapis lazuli, agate, alabaster, Carrara marble, amethyst, purple porphyry, French white black, ancient-green and ancient fault marble and stone types, diaspore and jade.

In addition to the physical space of the church, the Chapel of Saint John the Baptist has a rich collection of religious pieces including vestments, liturgical ornaments and documentation that can be admired in the Museum of São Roque, located in the building next door to the Church.


Chapel of Saint John the Baptist
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