Portugal’s iconic blue and white hand painted tiles are called azulejos.
Arabs brought the art of tile making to Portugal, and to Spain, along with the artistic tradition of “horror vacui,” the disdain for empty or plain spaces. The result of this Islamic Arabic artistic influence can be seen in the stunningly creative tile work covering the empty spaces of both Spain and Portugal.
The first classic blue and white tiles were made in Portugal in the 1500’s.
By the 17th century, yellow was added to create the stunning blue, white and yellow combination.
Purple and green were added next, along with geometric designs. (See Azulejos II for more of these multi-colored tiles.)
In the 18th century a formal tile making school opened in Lisbon.
The proliferation of historic tile work throughout Portugal creates a unique and distinctively Portuguese visual experience.
Cheers to you from Portugal’s beautiful azulejos~
150 thoughts on “Azulejos I~”
Yes. Portugal is so beautiful!
Wonderful pictures from Portugal, Cindy. 🙂
Thank you dear one & be well~ <3
Gorgeous Cindy! Hugs!
Hugs & thank you Wendell!
Excellent. I love those tiles.
I do too!
Hi Cindy, since I just recently discovered my Iberian Peninsula roots via Ancestry.com, your lovely blogs are timely! I was not factually aware of this part of my heritage until now. When I visited Venice, I was so taken with the Arabic architecture and I adore mosaics. How wonderful to see such beauty associated with the home of some of my ancestors. thank you!
Yes, I have an Arabic great grandmother and I respond to the intricate, complex beauty of the art too. We’re related!!! <3
What a lovely connection. Let’s agree we are related! <3
Stunning, Cindy! Thank you for sharing your travels. 😊
I love the early blue/white and added yellow… later centuries seem almost mandela-like (though the earlier symmetry remains). Was there ever Hindu/Buddhist influence in Portugal?
That is an interesting question to which I don’t know the answer. Portugal was an incredibly advanced sailing and exploring culture back throughout much of it’s history, and of course sailing and exploring would expose Portugal to diverse cultures, religions and art. Islamic and Buddhist and Hindu art definitely influenced each other, and the Arabs occupied Portugal for a long period, so my guess would be yes, but I can find no references to this in a quick online search. Maybe an expert will weigh in here and answer this interesting question for both of us!
Hi Cindy! I don’t think we have direct Hindu influences, although I’m not na expert, but we were in the XVth century in India, so it’s possible that some influence could come. About tha arabs, yes, they came to Iberian Peninsula in 711 and remained in the south of Portugal until middle of 1200. Your photos are wonderful, thank you for sharing one of our most genuine things of our culture!
So happy you enjoyed & cheers!
The first… was in 1500s, wow! Thank you, Cindy for the beautiful tile tour and the history. 🙂
Spain started tile work in around the 1300’s as you well know, but Portugal and Spain do maintain their own artistic individuality to this day.
Beautiful. It reminds me a little of the delft tiles of the Netherlands, which were all over our house when I was growing up. The Portuguese murals are beautiful and the building is stunning.
Yes. Very much so. I love delft and have some of it too. I couldn’t get over the number of buildings just covered with tiles in Portugal.
Quite a lovely art form.
It is. Art & beauty seem to be valued for so much of human history.
It speaks to us, Cindy.
So happy it does and thanks for telling me!
My love is blue! ♬ ♫ This is a very gorgeous post.
Cindy, Blue Willow came to mind.
That brought my grandmother.
“Love, love, my love is blue, blue is my love since I’m without you!’ God Resa. Are we showing our ages????? Good for us! <3
Yes. Portugal is amazing!
Breathtaking art work on train stations and unimportant buildings. It is remarkable.
Lovely photos. I absolutely adore that color of blue!!! 🙂 <3
I do too! <3
<3 <3 <3
Thanks so much Cindy. There are some beautiful designs. The Arab world brought much to the West.
xxx Huge Hugs xxx
They certainly did, so much beauty!
Quite informative. And the pics added to the charm of the post. Enjoyed reading this 😊
So pleased you enjoyed and thanks for letting me know~
Yes. Portugal is such!
Wonderful work of art. And from Spain we got it in America. Amazingly beautiful.
Portugal and Spain brought tile work to America. It is amazingly beautiful!
I am so glad they did. Those pieces that you showed in your pics are breath taking. WAO!!!
Awww, so pleased you enjoyed!
Yes, I did.
Muchas gracias Robert!
Truly iconic portraits. ☺You have a lovely taste for architecture too.
Aww, you are very kind. Thank you~
Awesome 👏 – you do take stunning photos Cindy! Thanks for sharing 👍😊
Thank you more for the thoughtful appreciation!
Such beautiful tiles! We are currently having the bathroom done – but nothing so gorgeous! Pip
I am sure it will be beautiful, but maybe not as amazing as hand made tiles from the 1600″s!!
An excellent collection
Thank you very much!
Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
Pictures of more stunning tiles for Portugal by Cindy Knoke.
You are a lovely friend!
Such beautiful work! Blue and white, whether Dresden china or Portuguese tiles have always attracted me. Stunning photos, Cindy.
Yes, it has always resonated with me as well~
I learn something every time you post, Cindy — thank you! This is such beautiful tile work, especially the third photo of the white building.
Imagine this multiplied all over Portugal and you will have a sense of the impact.
This is stunning, Cindy. ‘Horror vacui’ – what a terrific term. I’ve made note of this. Surely I can reference this in my writing somewhere! I believe this describes some houses in the neighborhood completely devoid of landscaping, color or any interest whatsoever!
Beautiful photos. Interesting commentary. Thanks for posting!
Yes!!! I resonated completely with the concept. I often have this sense of let-down returning to the blandness of too many American neighborhoods. The current decorating trend towards beige, white and no color, creates horror vacui in me!
You are so clever at spotting all of these blue and white images, such a lovely post, I love how the tiles make a plain wall look like it has columns.
Yes and the whole idea horror vacui is wonderful. Terror of boring white walls!
My gosh it’s crazy, incredible that these were hand done!! Just beautiful! Thanks for exposing me to a new find Cindy!
Thank you much more for such kind appreciation!
You’re really a heck of a photographer!!!
Ahhh, humbled & honored.
These are really stunning, Cindy. I love how they look onthat white house! 🙂
Imagine this all over the city and you have a sense of the impact. Glad you enjoyed & thank you~
How lovely it must look 🙂
I’ve seen these! They are wonderful. But the detals in your pictures make them even more beautiful. I now see how well the the pictures on the tiles are composed and how much light and dark does in these monochromatics. This is great art.
It is great art, and as you know it is everywhere, which makes it even more impressive!
For just two tones, the realism is breathtaking!
Amazing artistry isn’ it!
Incredible talent at work!
Such a beauty! Monochrome looks striking.
Yes, amazing how much realism it can depict~
This brings back some lovely memories of Lisbon. We had the best Moroccan tagine in the restaurant district.
Lisbon is such an incredible, historic city, glad you visited and ate there!
Beautiful! Reminds me of the old Blue Willow dish pattern. Great art!
Yes, it does and that is such lovely china!
These are so beautiful!
Ah, thank you my friend~
Amazing! We never studied these beautiful tiles in art school. What a shame.
It is amazing how we continue to learn and be exposed to new concepts and discoveries throughout our lifetimes. We never stop learning which is wonderful!
Lovely tiles – always so interesting to find out something not known to me!
Yes! The above comment echoes the above person’s thoughts and mine! We learn new things throughout our lives and this keeps life interesting! <3
Beautiful Portugal tiles! And I love that the ones you chose to highlight here are depicting women 😉 I’m including this one in my Friday roundup post xx
The women were so compelling. They were portrayed with such sensitivity. They were not sexualized, or placed on a religious pedestal, but seemed like real, everyday women with feelings you could sense, painted on tiles from so long ago. I am so appreciative and glad you noticed this!
These tiles are amazing and you have captured them beautifully! 😀
Thank you dear friend and kiss the kitty-kids for me~ 🐱
All done! They send you kitty-kisses back! LOL!
Blue songs are like tattoos
You know I’ve been to sea before
Crown and anchor me
Or let me sail away
Hey Blue, here is a song for you ~
Have a nice day. 🙂
Here is a shell for you
Inside you’ll hear a sigh
A foggy lullaby
Be well my friend~
Everybody sing. Be well too. 🙂
Yes and especially impressive when covering a building exterior or interior~
Wow – such beautiful captures Cindy! I hope they brought back wonderful memories 💛
Yes, they did and thank you for knowing and remembering~ <3
Gorgeous! I’ve been to the Algarve 2 decades ago. Truly beautiful. <3
So glad you have seen it for yourself~ <3
Simply splendid, my friend!₍₍⁽⁽((º̩̩́⌣º̩̩̀ʃƪ)₎₎⁾⁾
Thank you for introducing me to these gorgeous tiles. I love blue and white, Nice!
Very pleased you enjoyed and cheers to you Ruth~
Interesting. I have never heard of the fear of empty space before. They sure fill it beautifully. Although it makes me think of the opposite idea. We spent time in Tokyo this year and were struck by the amount of blank space in their art – this is the concept of space between things, which becomes part of the artwork.
Yes. Blank space, like color, is a personal preference issue. There is beautiful art in empty space of course, and in the opposite.
It always amazes me how they can/could create a whole scenery in little bits and pieces without missing any details… 😀
It is amazing. What really floors me is the ability to convey emotion in the faces and body language of the people painted across the surfaces of these different tiles.
Really beautiful, Cindy. 🙂
Awww, so pleased you enjoyed & Happy Friday!
Absolutely unique and stunning art.
It is special and it is everywhere in Portugal which makes it even more impressive!
Bright and beautiful post Cindy!! We lived in Spain for several years and the azulejos we saw there were more geometrical/plain than these decorative Portuguese tiles! So pretty even after all the years they’ve been up. thanks for thinking of sharing them! Happy weekeknd ahead Cindy– have plans??
Spain and Portugal are quite distinctive aren’t they, and tile is only one of many ways. You are so lucky you had the experience of living in Spain. I know it enriched your life. Have a wonderful weekend!
We do miss Spain! My dream trip is to go back with our kids and see the places we lived and traveled… Love love your beautiful consistent posts Cindy. xox
You are a lovely person and friend Rhonda. Be well~ <3
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Simply the best info with pics
I am honored & humbled. Thank you!
Gorgeous azulejos! I love that you added info as well to teach us as well as show us their beauty! Thank you Cindy!
Awww, thank you for such a very kind response and have a wonderful week! <3
You too Cindy! ♥
Amazing pictures! What a great artist
Thank you and happy you appreciate the artistry!
I have cobalt blue accents in my kitchen, with usually white or pale yellow walls. I’ve always loved the combination. Beautiful pictures and I loved the history behind them as well.
That is such a gorgeous combination, blue, yellow and white!
I adore the Portugese azulejos – you have put up a wonderful selection, for which, thanks! RH
They are special aren’t they. Thank you for appreciating them & cheers to you~
Obsessed with this color scheme and detail!
Isn’t That Charming.
Yes! I am too. Glad to share them with you!
So beautiful. I enjoyed them pretty much.
Alberto Mrteh (El zoco del escriba)
I am so pleased that you did & thank you!
Azulejos, each a masterpiece! I’m glad the Portuguese did not follow the Arab tradition of not representing human figures in their art.
Yes, it makes for quite beautiful pieces of art doesn’t it.
I had no idea that azulejos even existed before I saw this post. Thank for sharing these great images!
Thank you more for appreciating them!
amazing…such detail…lovely! Thanks for sharing, Cindy!
Thank you much more for your very kind appreciation~