Visiting the ‘Museu de Arte Antiga’ turned out to be an interesting experience.
Yes, religious art is the general topic and shows how much portuguese royalty and merchants put an emphasis on catholicism.
My guess, is that this was mostly to win the favour of the church and remainder population. And while in Madrid I saw more than my share of works depicting the temptation of saint anthony, here the tide changed. Most pieces where showing the adoration of christ, as well as saints and martyrs.
And then, there was an exhibition called ‘White gold’ with works that were comended or owned by people living in Madeira during the 15th and 16th century. They mostly traded sugar, hence the name of the exhibition.
If you're guessing they were mostly religious pieces, you are be right.
All in all, it makes for a good visit that can end in the garden of the Museum and it's amazing view over the river.