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Edited by Jay A. Levenson
Portugal’s long-standing tradition of internationalism ensured that 18th-century patrons of the arts looked to both domestic and foreign sources of production, encouraging a diversity of styles among the works they purchased and commissioned. Sculpture and the decorative arts, in particular, flourished; painting, which functioned mainly for portraiture and decoration, tended to be of lesser interest. The entries in this catalog have been organized by the type of patronage represented—secular, royal, or religious—to give a sense of the various milieus in which the works originally functioned. Baroque Portugal has long been difficult to study for anyone unable to visit that country, as many of these works have remained in Portuguese collections, both public and private. This catalog introduces audiences in the United States to the 18th century in Portugal, a remarkable period for both history and the history of art.