It was by wish of Queen D. Leonor (1458-1525) that a monastery dedicated to Our Lady of Pleasures, for sheltering nuns of the Saint Clare order was build in Xabregas. The Convent, known as Madre de Deus Convent, began to fulfil its founder wish of a life dedicated to the vows instituted by Saint Francis rule of closure, poverty and divine contemplation, with the arrival of seven nuns from the Convent of Jesus in Setúbal in 1509.
Of the original look of Convent of Madre de Deus first building, remained, in the interior, a room with «alfarge» ceiling ( an Arab term meaning carved wood ceiling) framed by a cord. The presence of this element is explained by the possibility of this room having belonged to the former households of D. Álvaro da Cunha that, as stated in1639 chronicle, « had the spirit of prophecy, because when ordering the building of the houses encircled the ceilings with the cords of Our Priest Saint Francis, (…) and when asked why doing this in secular houses, answered that one day the houses will belong to Seraphic Order and God Our Lord will be much served in them. »
Named by Liberato Telles as «Arab Chapel», the function of this space was lost in time and there are no concrete references to its purpose. Modern time informations are scarce regarding this subject, although everything leads to assume that the space corresponds to a room from the era of the foundation, having in mind the exquisite luxury of the 16th century ceiling and the beautiful wood carved in crossed cords, golden at its origin, with paintings of decorative bands and flowerlike ornaments according to modern Renaissance taste.
Until now withdrawn from public eye, this chapel must be consecrated, due to its artistic value, to the historical figure of Queen D. Leonor and to the Convent of Madre de Deus, the place she chose to live the last years of her life and to be her final resting place.
“View of Jerusalem” is, at present, located on a small room integrating the circuit of the permanent exhibition of the Museu, but its original place is known: the high choir of the Church of Madre de Deus where the nuns, during their prayers, could see that work which represents the “Passion of Christ” according to Simão Pedro, as well as the portrait of the convent founder – Queen Dona Leonor. The work is supposed to have been made in Northern Europe (Flanders or Germany), with the exception of the Queen figure, whose painting was executed already on Portuguese territory.