11 Nov, 2020
Few combinations are as rich and powerful as art and nature. This relationship’s richness is seen in many artistic movements and works that aim to portray the beauty in nature. On the other hand, its power lies in its ability to transform society by bringing new perspectives on the relationship between man and the environment.
Art and nature can be merged into temporary interventions, small artworks, or large monuments. Art movements such as Land Art, for example, use large natural or urban spaces in the composition of artistry that promotes reflection on the human impact on the environment and our need to reconnect with the natural world.
Another important example of wide spaces that combine art, history, and nature are the monuments managed by Parques de Sintra Monte da Lua. This important Portuguese institution is responsible for the conservation, exploration, and dissemination of areas such as the Park and Palace of Pena, the Gardens and the Palace of Monserrate, the Moorish Castle, and the Convent of the Capuchos
We are sure that you are already curious to know more about these exciting places, so we prepared this complete content about Parques de Sintra. But before we get there, let's explore some concepts that will help you understand these monuments’ historical, cultural, and environmental relevance. Shall we start?
Art, history, and nature
The relationship between art, history, and nature begins with the first cave drawings that record the primitive societies’ routine and culture. With human development and the emergence of more technically and conceptually elaborated art, this relationship gained other facets.
After years of a relationship based on inspiration and aesthetic, Artistas powerfully combined art, history, and nature in the 1960s during the Counterculture Movement. Their use of art as an activism tool to contest geopolitical conflicts and social and environmental crises was the beginning of the Environmental Art movements.
Driven by the sustainable development debate’s strength, artistic movements such as Land Art, Art Povera, and Art-in-nature bring revolutionary perspectives to art and society. These artists make us reflect on the negative impact of human activities on the environment through unusual material choices, development techniques, and exhibition methods.
Another revolutionary aspect of Environmental Art movements is their ability to solve ecological problems. For example, the Upcycling movement is an exciting alternative for the early disposal of materials that may still be useful. With its design innovations, Upcycling helps to build new sustainable production and consumption models.
Art and history are also fundamental in promoting environmental awareness. Information, education, and entertainment are essential approaches to bring the population closer to the ecological debate on sustainability. Imagine, for example, how interesting it can be to learn about the environment and art while visiting places full of history and culture. It sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? So let’s explore more about Parques de Sintra.
After all, what is Parques de Sintra?
Parques de Sintra is a Portuguese institution created in 2000 to manage the most important natural and cultural values in the Cultural Landscape of Sintra and in Queluz. Their work involves the recovery, conservation, investigation, and dissemination of properties that carry part of the country’s history and are essential local tourist destinations.
These properties managed by the group are, more specifically, the Park and Palace of Pena, the Gardens and the Palace of Monserrate, the Moorish Castle, the Convent of the Capuchos, the Garden and Chalet of the Countess of Edla and, since 2012, the National Palaces of Sintra and Queluz and the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art based at the historic Gardens of Queluz.
Parques de Sintra has significant environmental and historical relevance. In addition to the management of monuments, the institution also preserves and recovers local biodiversity, sensitizing visitors to this issue and promoting visitors’ contact with nature.
As for its historical importance, Parques de Sintra is responsible for conserving an area designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995, in the category of Cultural Landscape. Let’s explore the historical relevance of these monuments?
The historical and cultural importance of Parques de Sintra for Portugal
The area’s designation as the UNESCO World Heritage Site has a weak motive. Each of the monuments present in the Cultural Landscape of Sintra and administered by Parques de Sintra carries essential elements of Portugal’s history and the history of art. Let's check out some examples?
The National Palace of Sintra is the best-preserved medieval royal residence in Portugal, being inhabited more or less continuously from at least the early 15th century to the late 19th century. The Palace was used by the Portuguese Royal Family practically until the end of the Monarchy, in 1910. That is where D. Manuel received the news of Brazil’s discovery, D. Afonso V was born and died, D. Afonso VI was incarcerated, and D. João II became king.
The National Pena Palace, one of the primary expressions of 19th-century Romanticism in the world, stands on the top of a hill in the Sintra Mountains. Besides being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is also one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. According to tradition, construction occurred after an apparition of the Virgin Mary.
Before serving as a summer residence for the Portuguese royal family and later as a museum, Pena was a small, quiet place for meditation, housing a maximum of eighteen monks. An interesting fact in this monument’s history is that the last queen of Portugal, Queen Amélia, spent her last night at the palace before leaving the country in exile.
The Portuguese School of Equestrian Art is a Portuguese institution dedicated to the preservation of the equestrian arts. It’s origins as an institution trace to 1726, during King João V’s reign. Then it served as the riding school of the Portuguese Royal Family and the Portuguese nobility. The School is still working today and is considered one of the world’s most prestigious classical riding academies.
These and all the other monuments managed by Parques de Sintra are open for tourists who want to know more about art and Portugal’s history. Currently, visits are carried out following the Covid-19 pandemic prevention measures.
The Covid-19 pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic has been a major global challenge that has left many victims worldwide. European countries like Portugal faced an exceptionally serious situation at the beginning of the year, having to adhere to severe social distance measures, quarantine, and closing non-essential business.
Thus, as well as other art and cultural spaces in Portugal and Europe, the monuments of Parques de Sintra were closed for visitation during a period and have gradually reopened following the Covid-19 pandemic prevention measures.
Activities returned in May, on International Museums Day, with free admission on the first day of operation. Since then, parks and monuments have new opening hours and a limited number of visitors. The use of protective masks is mandatory in all the monuments, that are being cleaned continuously and temporarily suspending audio guides.
Looking to the future
Until it is possible to reopen normally for a large number of people, the Covid-19 pandemic demanded all types of establishments to find alternatives to keep their activities running at a distance. In this case, technology is a fundamental instrument for the population to continue consuming art, culture, and entertainment.
Innovative actions such as completely online exhibitions using technologies such as 3D, lives on social networks, and visual reality have demonstrated our ability to adapt to challenging scenarios and the fundamental role of art, culture, and history even in times of distance.
One of the highlights in using these strategies was the Battle of Aljubarrota Foundation. This Portuguese institution outlined an interesting digital strategy. They teamed up with us here at Timelinefy to develop a timeline telling the full story of the Battle of Aljubarrotas events in Portugal.
The result was fascinating, and now we are joining forces with Parques de Sintra to tell even more stories of Portuguese culture and art in our timelines. We are very excited for you to be able to consume this content soon! Do you already know how Timelinefy works?
Timelinefy: the platform that organizes history and time
Timelinefy is an online platform for creating and sharing timelines of all kinds. Here you can create your own timeline with your Instagram photos and favorite Spotify songs or consume the content already created by your friends and our team.
Some of our favorite timelines are those we produce with our partners’ help, such as Parques de Sintra. Soon you will be able to study more about the monuments we mentioned in this article and understand how each of them is related to other significant events in Portuguese and world history.
The timelines that will be available will significantly enrich your face-to-face experience if you plan to visit the monuments of Sintra Park soon. Until then, from which timeline are you going to start exploring history?