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Museum of Contemporary Art - Fortress Sã

Fortaleza de São Tiago, Rua do Portão de São Tiago | 9060-250 Funchal
The construction of the fortress of São Tiago must have begun around 1614, as can be seen in the inscription on the primitive gate.

The start of the construction should be attributed to Jerónimo Jorge, a fortifier who arrived in Madeira to replace Mateus Fernandes, author of the plans of the city walls and who worked here since 1596. After the death of Jerónimo Jorge in 1617, the work was continued by his son, Bartolomeu João.

The first phase of the works of the fortress must have been completed in 1637, in time of D. Philip II of Portugal, the third of Spain. In the eighteenth century, the fortress will witness the second major campaign of work under the orders of Governor José Correia de Sá, who acquired new weapons in London. These works were directed by the Engineer Tossi Columbina, author of the proposed construction of the port of Funchal. 

Some modifications have been advanced in the Napoleonic wars in the early nineteenth century, the fortress served with the quartering British troops. Already in 1803, the fortress gathered many families that were left homeless during the terrible flood. 

In the early twentieth century were made improvements to the visit in 1901 of D. Carlos I, King of Portugal. The fortress was then headquarters of the Mobile Artillery Battery. This unit was delivered to Madeira Autonomous region on July 17, 1992. At the time, it served as the barracks of the Army and the Police Squadron Lancers of Funchal. 

As part of a project to occupy the spaces available, the Regional Government of Madeira, decided to install the Museum of Contemporary Art and a military space, which hosts a historical path of growth and secular trend of the fortress and its strategic relationship with the other bases defense of the bay of Funchal.

The Museum of Contemporary Art began its activity, based on the collection of the city prize of Funchal, of the General Board of the Autonomous District of Funchal and of the Delegation of Tourism and National Society of Fine Arts in Lisbon, in the years 1966 and 1967. 

It was first understood as a contemporary extension of the Museum of Quinta das Cruzes, operating however the first time, in a temporary headquarter at the premises of the Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs and then at Quinta Magnolia in Funchal, in the 80s. This is a collection of contemporary Portuguese art from the '60s to the present day, with works by some of the most significant national artists. Among the Collection there are highlighted names such as Joaqumn Rodrigo, Nuno de Siqueira, Antonio Areal, José Escada, Helena Almeida, Artur Rosa, Jorge Martins e Manuel Batista. 

Since 1992, the collection of Contemporary Art in the fortress São Tiago re-started a process of enlargement the collection with works by de Lourdes Castro, René Bertholo, José de Guimarães, Ilda David, Graça Pereira Coutinho, Filipe Rocha da Silva, Jaime Lebre, António Palolo, José António Cardoso, João Queiroz, José Loureiro, Albuquerque Mendes, Fernando Calhau, Michael Biberstein, Pedro Cabrita Reis, Pedro Portugal, Sofia Areal, Miguel Branco, Pedro Proença, Fernanda Fragateiro, Ana Vidigal, António Campos Rosado, Rui Sanches, Manuel Rosa, Patrícia Garrido, Helena Almeida, Eduardo Batarda, Gaetan, Pedro Casqueiro, Ana Vidigal, among many others.

The Museum also has a collection of works by artists who are developing their art in Madeira island, for Élia Pimenta, Celso Caires, Isabel Santa Clara, Eduardo de Freitas, Graça Berimbau, Teresa Jardim, Filipa Venâncio, Karocha, José Manuel Gomes, Guilhermina da Luz, Ara Gouveia, Carla Cabral, Lígia Gontardo, António Rodrigues, Danilo Gouveia, Guida Ferraz, among many others. Emblematic was also the possibility, through patronage, of the entrance to the Museum's collections of works by Maria Helena Vieira da Silva.

The museum organizes temporary events, providing visibility, by rotation, of its collections also betting on publicizing the local artists, present in the collection.

DRAC Madeira - Direcção Regional dos Assuntos Culturais (Madeira)
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