ARRUDA, Diogo de
(c. 1470-1531)

External view

Monastery of the Knights of Christ, Tomar

The fortress-like central church of the Templars in the monastery of the Knights of Christ, dating from the second half of the 12th century, was given an annex at the beginning of the 16th century. The architects were João de Castilho (c. 1470-1552) and Diogo de Arruda (1490-1531). The annex was to serve as a high choir and chapter house. It is not the architecture of the two-story interior that is of interest, being vaulted with the usual net vaulting. In its subtle combination of elaborate decoration it is, like Belém and Batalha, a major achievement of the Manueline style.

In the decoration in Tomar, as in other church architecture of the early 16th century, secular elements came to the fore. A striking example is the outer framing of the window of the chapter house. In it, the imagination and creative power of the Manueline age is apparent. Artfully created in stone, seaweed, coral, shells, and cables twine over the masonry, the whole scene supported by a half-figure, crowned and flanked by the cross of the Knights of Christ and the armillary sphere, symbols of the two mainstay of the Portuguese dynasty.

The picture shows the chapter house window by Diogo de Arruda.