been around the world…

monument to the discoveries, lisbon

More sketches from Belem, on the day before the Symposium. This is the Padrao dos Descobrimentos, or Monument to the Discoveries. Portugal was a big big player in the Age of Discovery, paving the way for other European nation states to sail across the sea ship detail, lisbonand stake their claims, trade or otherwise, across the world. This huge monument juts out into the Tagus, looking towards the Atlantic, headed by a statue of Prince Henry the Navigator. Sure, the monument was built by the dicator Salazar but, you know. It’s still pretty impressive.

Portugal’s maritime past is celebrated everywhere in Belem, and in front of the Padrao dos Descobrimentos is a large mosaic map, decorated with images of Portuguese ships (such as the one drawn to the left). It’s quite an incredible story, how this very small nation managed to somehow span itself across the globe, and ultimately gave birth to the large and politically important nation of Brazil.

As Portuguese interests expanded and riches brought back, cities such as Lisbon grew in global importance and buildings were constructed to consolidate this. The Torre Belem, seen below with my sketch of it, is one of the most famous symbols of this time. A fortification built on a small island in the Tagus River, it was completed in 1519 and served to protect Lisbon and act as a gateway to the city.

And so, with the sketches of ‘day zero’ over, now to talk about the Symposium…

torre belem sketch


in this quiet little place

vasco da gama

After arriving in Lisbon, I bumped into fellow Urban Sketcher Jason Das at the hostel, and we took the bus down to the historic district of Belem. First stop was the massive Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, a huge UNESCO-listed monastery built in the highly decorative Manueline fashion. Above, a surprise, the tomb of Vasco da Gama, the real Vasco da Gama! The one they named that Brazilian football club after! The Mosteiro is pretty epic, and if I’d had time I would have attempted a larger all-encompassing drawing from the outside, but I liked to draw smaller snapshots, capturing some of the details.

jeronimos details
mosteiro sm

I haven’t done much drawing inside large religious buildings, with their epic grandeur and special light. We don’t have any cathedrals here in Davis. It’s something I would like to practise though; I’ve seen some other people’s sketches inside such buildings and it’s an inspiration.

mosteiro dos jeronimos