The “right” side of the Padrão

The Padrão dos Descobrimentos, Monument to the Discoveries, has had two lives, and it has two sides, but some say that only one of them is the “right” side.

Episode 3 – The “right” side of the Padrão
|Created and produced by Marco António
|Translated and narrated Lucy Pepper
|Official theme tune: Fado do SonhoPensão Flor
|Additional music: Lee Rosevere | Orquestra Popular de Paio Pires
|The Portuguese version of this episode can be found at “Histórias de Portugal
(narrated by Marco António)

O Padrão dos Descobrimentos, the Monument to the Discoveries, in Lisbon, almost never existed. It was imagined, at the last minute, in the middle of the night in 1939 by  Cottinelli Telmo, but only after they had told him that his plans for the Exposição do Mundo Português of 1940, the Exhibition of The Portuguese World, lacked “something”. Even though he was annoyed, he came up with the idea for the monument (modelled later in plaster by the sculptor, Leopoldo de Almeida) and not only was it the star of the Estado Novo’s exhibition, but it was reconstructed definitively twenty years later, in concrete and stone, next to the Tejo, where today it is one of Lisbon’s tourist must-sees.

The figures, 33 of them, of important figures in the Discoveries (find out who they were at the official website of the monument, here (in English: were created between 1958 and 1960 by two stone masonry firms from Pêro Pinheiro. Pardal Monteiro e José Raimundo were the master masons chosen and each one was given one side of the monument to work on (the figure of Henry the Navigator, at the centre front, was shared between the two firms).

For an idea of how big the figures really are, click on this photograph from 1940, with the sculptor, Leopoldo de Almeida, up a ladder, modelling the first version of the monument in plaster.

Foto: Mário Novais (1940)

There are more beautiful photos of the construction of the original version of the padrão here.

In this episode, we interviewed Humberto Raimundo Simões, son of José Raimundo, who worked with his father on this and many other projects in the company José Raimundo e Filho, Lda., who revealed that the sculptor, Leopoldo de Almeida was only happy with one side, and made sure that that side ended up on the official commemorative medal of the Padrão.

Our thanks to Ana Vitorino who helped us arrive at today’s story.

in this episode, we referred to the “eagle” in the statue of Calouste Gulbenkian. We should have said it was a falcon, which represents the Egyptian god Horus.