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Versão Portuguesa

South Portal

Built between 1516 and 1518 by João de Castilho and his work team following a design by Diogo de Boitaca, the South Portal is the visual centre of the Monastery's façade facing the River Tagus. Despite its sumptuous detail, however, it is merely a side entrance.
The central figure in the portal is Our Lady of Bethlehem (Belém in Portuguese) with the Child. The Church and Monastery are dedicated to Our Lady. She holds in her hand a cup with gifts from the Magi. The Virgin is flanked by a multitude of statues representing the prophets, the apostles, Church notables and some saints (or perhaps sibyls).
The tympanum features two scenes from the life of St. Jerome - one in which, in the robes of a cardinal, he removes a thorn from a lion's paw and another in which he pays penance in the desert. In the spandrel between these scenes is Manuel I's coat of arms.
Further below, between the twin doors of the church, is a statue representing Henry the Navigator as a knight in armour, a tribute to this predecessor of Manuel I who founded the Restelo Chapel and was a driving force behind the Portguese Discoveries.
Dominating the whole composition is a statue of the Archangel Michael at the very top.

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