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Originally designated as Museu Portuense de Pinturas e Estampas (Porto’s Museum of Paintings and Prints), or Ateneu D. Pedro IV (Athenaeum D. Pedro IV), it has existed since 1833, being the first public museum of art in Portugal. In 1911 it became known as Soares dos Reis Museum. It was recognized as a National Museum in 1932. The name is a tribute to this famous sculptor from Porto, whose estate is part of the museum. One of the most well-known sculptures that deserves special attention is O Desterrado (The Exiled), a marble masterpiece.

Since 1940 it is located in the Carrancas Palace. This palace was built in the end of the 18th century. It has been considered a building of public interest since 1934. The refurbishing and expansion of the building, with a project by architect Fernando Távora, adequate it to its new functions. Nowadays it has a coffee shop, a library (visits by prior appointment), an education service and a multimedia room.

It has a collection of more than 13.000 pieces of fine arts, decorative arts and archaeology. It has a permanent exhibition with works of Portuguese painting and sculpture of the 19th and first half of the 20th century, as well as decorative arts. The noble floor of the palace is decorated in neo-classical style.


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