Gonçalves, Nuño (active 1450-71) was a Portuguese painter, recorded in 1463 as court painter to Alfonso V (1437-81). No works certainly by his hand survive, but there is a strong circumstantial evidence that he was responsible for the Saint Vincent Polyptych, the outstanding Portuguese painting of the 15th century. The style is rather dry, but powerfully realistic, and the polyptych contains a superb gallery of highly individualized portraits of members of the court, including a presumed self-portrait. There are affinities with contemporary Burgundian and Flemish art, especially the work of Bouts.

  Very little is known of his life, neither his birth or death dates are known; but documents of the time seems to indicate that he was active between 1450 and 1490. The only reference that art historians can use to support his authorship of the Saint Vincent Panels is by Francisco de Holanda, in the 16th century. It mentions a great work of art made by him that is inferred to be the Panels. It is also speculated that the father of Hugo van der Goes collaborated in the painting of the panel but there is not concrete proofs. Since their discovery in late 19th century there has been great dispute over the identity of the painter and the characters shown in the Panels. Even the claim that Prince Henry the Navigator appears in the third panel is still under debate. Nevertheless "Saint Vicent Panels" is seen as the highest peak of Portuguese antique art.

The regional museum of Aveiro displays a portrait of Princess Joana, "The Holy Princess", attributed to Nuno Gonçalves.

Nuno Gonçalves  is depicted, among several other historic figures, on the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries) in Belém near Lisbon.


"Altarpiece of Saint Vincent" (1495) Museo Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon, Portugal.

"Altarpiece of Saint Vincent (detail)" (1495) Museo Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon, Portugal.

"Altarpiece of Saint Vincent (detail)" (1495) Museo Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon, Portugal.

Text source: 'Webmuseum' ( & 'Wikipedia' (

Related Artists:

Related Term: Polyptych.

Western side of the Monument to the Discoveries in Belém, Portugal.

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