Considered to be the most emblematic church of the town, the Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Assunção (Our Lady of the Assumption) is the main church in Cascais. It would have originally been built in the 16th century given that a print, dated 1572, can be found in a work depicting the town and coastline of Cascais from around the 1530s by Georg Braun and Frans Hogenburg, entitled “Civitates Orbis Terrarum“.
The church has a longitudinal plan with a western façade. It comprises 3 bodies or sections, separated by stonework pilasters and two square-shaped lateral bell towers. The Gospel pulpit boasts 17th century marble.
The carved gilt altarpiece of the Church forms an arch that provides the framework for a throne wherein there is an image of Our Lady of the Assumption being crowned by two angels from above. Beneath the throne lies a tabernacle, guarded by two angels which, as tradition dictates, watch over it.
Along the entirety of its nave, a set of important paintings of ancient art is displayed.These consist of four works by the Master of Lourinhã depicting The Virgin of the Annunciation with the Angel Gabriel, the Nativity and the Adoration of the Magi, dating from around 1520-1525. There are a further eight paintings by Josefa de Òbidos: The Holy Family (1672), a series of five paintings of St Teresa of Jesus (or of Ávila) also dated 1672: St Teresa before the Holy Trinity, The Virgin Mary and St Joseph presenting St Teresa with a necklace, St Teresa Mystical Woman, the Transverberation of St Teresa and St Teresa inspired by the Holy Spirit, to which are added the Baby Jesus Saviour of the World (1673) and the Vision of St John of the Cross (c.1673), all of them commissioned for the Convento da Piedade (now the Cascais Cultural Centre), from where they were transferred after its closure. On the ceiling, there is a central medallion with a painting depicting the Assumption of Our Ladyby the artist, José Malhoa, dated 1900.
In the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, can be found a painting of the Last Supper by Pedro Alexandrino de Carvalho. There is also a carved wooden gate which is believed to be the work of a local artist.
The church is extremely rich in its use of azulejos (tiles) to illustrate biblical scenes and those of sacred history. Depicted along the nave are several episodes from the life of Our Lady and, on the wall next to the Gospel pulpit near the entrance, there is a curious representation of an excerpt from the Book of Revelations. On the wall opposite, there is a more recent panel by Pereira Cão, dated 1908.
The Sacristy houses interesting tiled panels (azulejos) depicting themes from the Old Testament. The inscription states that these were placed here, in 1720, at the behest of the fishermen of the village, who were known as the Brotherhood of the Seafarers.
Over the years the church has undergone several renovations, the most recent of which took place this century in 2010-11. The entire section of the presbytery, the altar and the ambo, as well as the choir stalls and pews of the church were restored, along with the sacristies themselves..
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