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N. Srª. da Conceição (Our Lady of Conception) Hermitage

The Reform of the Order of Christ ordered by King John III and carried out by Jerome Friar António Moniz de Lisboa brought to Tomar a Renaissance jewel: The Immaculate Conception Hermitage. It is a squared shape Chapel whose volumetry gives it an austere exterior look and its architectural composition on the inside is a grandiose plastic expression with a subtle harmony.
This Chapel seems to evoke, formally, the Roman typology of the Basilica, with three naves and a shrine, but in reality it is a small church with and antechamber and a shrine. The 6 column compositional set supports the ceiling ending in barrel vaults giving the space the allegorical meaning of the basilica in a voluntary ambiguous treatment in terms of form and structure, typical of the Mannerist Architecture.
The Chapel was ordered by Friar António de Lisboa in 1541 but its conclusion was only reached in the 17th century, as witnessed by a Chronicler of the Order: . . ."Our Reformer did more to the Conception Hermitage - a work that should be seen and noticed - in such a short space and in such a perfect way that the architects can only notice that it isn´t finished." (A. Monis, ANTT, Cristo b-51-57, Relação de quando se começou esta Ordem de Xpo. . . no anno de 1529 . . . até esta era de 1630, Folio 3 Vº. ).
Initially the space where the chapel stands belonged to the north eastern area of the Convent Wall. This part of the Wall disappeared with construction of the Poor Clare´s Anunciada Nova Convent when the land plot was sold in the 18th century.
The symbolic related to the Marian cult and Mary´s Immaculate Conception dogma is present in the small temple´s architecture through peculiar aspect of its formal structure and the ornamental sculptural vocabulary.