Fons Vitae
One of the largest works of Flemish painting, the Fons Vitae stands as a testament to the strength of the city and of its connections to Northern Europe in the 16th century.

The Fons Vitae (Fountain of Life), with authorship attributed to Colijn de Coter, is dated circa 1515-1517. It is painting of large proportions (267 x 210 cm), painted in oil over oak wood.

The theme of Fons Pietatis, central in this painting, had wide spread dissemination in medieval Northern and Central Europe, linked with the "Last Judgment". It is also associated to the worship of "Holy Blood" and, from this, to other variants that gathered great devotional receptivity, as the cult of the "Holy Cross and Vera Cruz."

Thus, two important iconographic themes converge in the Fons Vitae:

> In terms of the earthly plane, Regal iconography of King Manuel I, this being perhaps the only existing work in that, the monarch is depicted with the attributes inherent to His political ideology and spiritual framework;

> In the heavenly plane, the theme of the "Calvary" associated with the "source of life" and "Piety", being that the Portuguese coat-of-arms included the cross of Christ and the five wounds.

Given the complexity of the subject and its association with the Royal ideology, the painting may have been commissioned in Flanders for the Misericórdia do Porto. Surely, the order was held by someone connected to the Misericórdia that frequented the monarch's closest circle.