A Light shone in the darkness
The main exhibition area of the Pius XII Museum is called ‘A Light shone in the darkness’ and is located on the ground and main floor of the building. Focusing mainly on the archaeology and sacred art collections put together by Canon Luciano Afonso dos Santos, it tells the history of humanity from the time when hominids were first known to walk the earth to the Mesolithic, the Neolithic, the Iron Age, the Bronze Age, the Copper Age, Castro cultures, the Romans, the Suevi, the Visigoths… and right up to the present day.
The section dedicated to archaeology offers a very rich collection of lithics, ceramics, glass, bronze and iron, numismatics… The highlight of this sector of the exhibition is the ceramics found in the territory of Braga. A perfectly preserved mosaic with marine motifs stands out, a result of the excavations undertaken in 1968 in the neighbouring cloister of the Conciliar Seminary of São Pedro and São Paulo.
It is also worth mentioning the Roman stelae, as well as fragments of Visigothic columns and capitals. Votive altars, milestones and sarcophagi can also be seen in this section.
Then there is a long corridor where light is already shining (Christianity is emerging and is beginning to make history). We should highlight the beautiful sculptures and paintings you will find along the way.
Then we get to a room dedicated to devotional art, followed by a jewellery room (which displays 100 pieces donated by a couple: Hamilton Gonçalves and Manuela Vilaça).
From Christ to the present day – this is the story that is told in a huge stone hall that, at the end, brings you back to the present day and to the entrance hall, which opens onto the upper floor, where Henrique Medina – perhaps the greatest Portuguese portrait painter of the 20th century, reveals himself.