COSTA E SILVA, José da
(b. 1747, Lisboa, d. 1819, Rio de Janeiro)
Exterior viewbegun 1787
Palácio dos Séteais, Sintra
Most of the monuments of the idyllic town of Sintra either date back to the 15th and 16th centuries or can be seen as part of the historicising movements of the second half of the 20th century. Nevertheless, the rediscovery of this town belongs to the Neoclassical period. The densely forested Atlantic coastline had enchanted both the Romans and the Moors, and ultimately the Portuguese kings proceeded to build their summer residences here. In the 19th century the area became a destination for English and German travelers, looking for the spirit of Romanticism, and they discovered in Sintra living traces of Portugal's diverse culture.
Neoclassicism had only a minor influence in Sintra, though wealthy merchants built their villas here. The largest of these is the Palácio dos Séteais, begun in 1787. The owner of this palace, which features clearly demarcated buildings and a central triumphal arch, was a Dutch diamond merchant, who was also consul.