The work of the French sculptor Nicolas Chantereine, the sculpture occupies the central niche of the chapel’s altarpiece.
The Palace of Sintra is the best-preserved medieval royal residence in all of Portugal. Built during the Moorish Al-Andalus era under Umayyad rule, its construction begun in the 8th century, and was first mentioned and described by the great Andalusian geographer, botanist, and historian of the 11th century, Al-Bakri, in his Book of Highways and Kingdoms.
Conquered in the 12th century by the first King of Portugal, Alfonso I (also known as “Alfonso The Great” or referred to as “El-Bortukali,” “the Portuguese” in Arabic Andalusian literature), almost nothing of the original Moorish building remains. However, the blending of Mudéjar, Moorish, and Gothic styles is quite evident, and surely common in most medieval architecture in Southern Iberia, Portugal not being an exception.
The Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Pena, part of a former convent which operated in the palace, still retains its original 16th-century layout, with room for 22 monks in the choir. In it, a unique altarpiece, sculpted by the remarkable French artist Nicolas Chantereine, seems to represent, at the same time, Jesus’ death and resurrection.