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Name of Monument:

Church of Menino Deus


Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal

Contact DetailsChurch of Menino Deus
Largo do Menino Deus
1100-347 Lisbon
T : +351 21 888 5650
F : +351 21 886 4451
E :
Saint Joseph of Cluny Religious Order (Responsible Institution)




Architects: João Antunes (1642–1712), João Frederico Ludovice (1670–1752), Custódio Vieira (c. 1690–c.1744); painters: Francisco Vieira de Matos (known as Vieira Lusitano 1699–1783), Inácio de Oliveira Bernardes (1685–1781), André Gonçalves (1685–1762), André Rubira [n.d.] Francesco Pavona [n.d.]; ceiling and perspective painters: João Nunes de Abreu [n.d.], Jerónimo da Silva [n.d.], Abreu da Serra [n.d.], Vitorino Manuel da Serra [n.d.]; sculptor: Giovanni Bellini of Padova [n.d.]

Denomination / Type of monument:

Religious, church


King João V and Queen Mariana of Austria


The Church of Menino Deus (Infant God) belonged to the Order of the Franciscans, Manteladas of Xabregas. The keystone was laid by King João V in 1711. Attached to the church was a convent and a hospital, and although it was unfinished, the nuns began to live in the convent in 1719. Although interior decoration of the church began in around 1730 it was not consecrated until March 1737.
The church was almost untouched by the earthquake of 1755, and the parishes of St. André, St Salvador and St. Tomé sought refuge in it. In 1807 and again in 1847 the convent was partially destroyed by fire and finally closed in 1910. Having been classified as a National Monument in 1918, the Direcção Geral dos Edifícios e Monumentos Nacionais (DGEMN) began a long restoration campaign from 1933 onwards. In 1945, the Community of St. José of Cluny was installed in the restored part of the convent and it was adapted to become a childcare centre, which still functions there today.


The Church of Menino Deus stands as an incomplete square stonework façade with two floors. The bases of a pair of bell towers are evident, which were never built. The single portal is flanked by a pair of composite columns and surmounted by a curved and broken pediment over the main window. On the first-floor there are three empty niches lying over an attic.
The convent, which extends to the south, has a small cloister and is built on a square stonework base; the façade presents cornices that crown the main floor.
The church, an irregular octagon, is built on a centralised plan. Fluted Corinthian pilasters covered with polychrome marble alternate with eight chapels. The lateral gilt wood retables hold paintings by André Gonçalves and André Rubira, while in the chancel there are paintings by Francisco Vieira Lusitano and Francesco Pavona. The Apotheosis of Saint Francis is depicted in the Quadratura ceiling painting.

View Short Description

The royal architect, João Antunes, was initially commissioned to work on the construction of the Church of Menino Deus. His fellow architects, João Frederico Ludovice and Custódio Vieira later continued the works.
The centralised plan, the rich interior decoration with polychrome marble and paintings commissioned from prominent painters of the time, exemplify the impeccable taste of King João V. This church is rightly included in the cycle of great artworks commissioned during the reign King João V, the climax of which was the construction of the Basilica and Convent of Mafra.

How Monument was dated:

Historical evidence and stylistic analysis

Special features

General view of the interior: lateral retables


c. 1730

Architect: João Antunes (1642–1712) and others; Painters: André Gonçalves (1685–1762), André Rubira [n.d.]

The lateral gilt wood retables incorporate paintings of the Stigmatisation of Saint Francis; Education of the Virgin; Miracle of the Roses; Beatas Mafalda; Teresa and Sancha; Saint Michael the Archangel and the Assumption of the Virgin by by André Gonçalves. The Saint Joseph and Infant Jesus is by André Rubira. The paintings date to around 1730.

Ceiling quadratura



Jerónimo da Silva, Vitorino Manuel da Serra, João Nunes de Abreu. [dates unknown]

The wooden ceiling of the nave bears a perspective painting or quadratura with fake architectural elements, and in the central panel, the Apotheosis of Saint Francis.

St. Francis stripped of His Secular Clothes and the Death of St. Francis



Francisco Vieira de Matos (Vieira Lusitano 1699–1783) and Francesco Pavona [n.d.].

The polygonal chancel has a marble framed retable either side of which are two paintings in marble frames: St. Francis stripped of His Secular Clothes by Francisco Vieira Lusitano (c.1730) and Death of Saint Francis by Francesco Pavona (c.1736–1740).

The Miracle of the Roses (left) and the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (right)

Lateral chapels of the nave, Gospel side


André Gonçalves (1685–1762)

On the Gospel side of the nave there are two chapels with important paintings by André Gonçalves, including the Assumption of the Virgin and the Miracle of the Roses depicting the legend of the Life of Queen St. Isabel of Aragão (1270–1336), wife of King Dinis I (1261–1325) of Portugal.

Main Altar, marble sculptures


c. 1737

Giovanni Antonio Bellini of Padova [n.d.]

Marble sculpture of St. Domingos (left) and St. Francis of Assisi (right).

Selected bibliography:

Baptista, H., Claustro do Menino Deus, No. 18/19, Revista da Câmara Municipal de Lisboa, 1943.
Synek, M., A Igreja do Menino Deus: peça importante do Barroco Olisiponense que resistiu ao Terramoto de 1755 e cuja autoria é discutível, Revista da Câmara Municipal de Lisboa, S.2, No.5, Lisbon, 1983.
Brito, J., A Igreja do Menino Deus, A Pintura de Perspectiva de Tecto, Tese de Mestrado, Universidade Lusíada, Lisbon, 2000.
A Igreja do Menino Deus, C. M. L., 2005.

Citation of this web page:

Miguel  Soromenho "Church of Menino Deus" in "Discover Baroque Art", Museum With No Frontiers, 2024.;BAR;pt;Mon11;14;en

Prepared by: Miguel SoromenhoMiguel Soromenho

SURNAME: Soromenho
NAME: Miguel

AFFILIATION: Portuguese Heritage Institute (IGESPAR)

TITLE: Architectural Researcher and Expert

Miguel Soromenho is an Art History graduate with an MA and particular expertise in 16th and 17th-century architecture. He teaches at the Universidade Nova in Lisbon and is a Researcher and Expert at the Portuguese Heritage Institute (IGESPAR).

Translation by: Cristina CorreiaCristina Correia

SURNAME: Correia
NAME: Cristina

AFFILIATION: Eça de Queirós Public High School, Lisbon and MWNF

TITLE: Senior Teacher, Local Co-ordinator and Vice-President of MWNF

Cristina Correia is a History graduate and, since 1985, a Senior Teacher of History at the Eça de Queirós Public High School, Lisbon where she also lectures in Portuguese Language and Culture for non-native speakers. From 1987 to 1998 she was involved with youth affairs, primary prevention and the Camões Institute. She is Vice-President and Local Co-ordinator (Portugal) for MWNF.
, Artur Fouto
Translation copyedited by: Mandi GomezMandi Gomez

Amanda Gomez is a freelance copy-editor and proofreader working in London. She studied Art History and Literature at Essex University (1986–89) and received her MA (Area Studies Africa: Art, Literature, African Thought) from SOAS in 1990. She worked as an editorial assistant for the independent publisher Bellew Publishing (1991–94) and studied at Bookhouse and the London College of Printing on day release. She was publications officer at the Museum of London until 2000 and then took a role at Art Books International, where she worked on projects for independent publishers and arts institutions that included MWNF’s English-language editions of the books series Islamic Art in the Mediterranean. She was part of the editorial team for further MWNF iterations: Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean Virtual Museum and the illustrated volume Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean.

True to its ethos of connecting people through the arts, MWNF has provided Amanda with valuable opportunities for discovery and learning, increased her editorial experience, and connected her with publishers and institutions all over the world. More recently, the projects she has worked on include MWNF’s Sharing History Virtual Museum and Exhibition series, Vitra Design Museum’s Victor Papanek and Objects of Desire, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt’s online publication 2 or 3 Tigers and its volume Race, Nation, Class.

MWNF Working Number: PT 14


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