The Manueline, or Portuguese late Gothic, is the sumptuous, composite Portuguese style of architectural ornamentation of the first decades of the 16th century, incorporating maritime elements and representations of the discoveries brought from the voyages of Vasco da Gama and Pedro Álvares Cabral.
This innovative style synthesizes aspects of Late Gothic architecture with influences of Spanish Plateresque style, downtown Italian, and Flemish elements. It marks the transition from Late Gothic to Renaissance. The construction of churches and monasteries in Manueline was largely financed by proceeds of the lucrative spice trade with Africa and India. This original style was named by Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen, Viscount of Porto Seguro, in 1842 in his description of the Jerónimos Monastery in his book Noticia historica e descriptiva do Mosteiro de Belem, com um glossario de varios termos respectivos principalmente a architectura gothica.
He named the style after King Manuel I, whose reign (1495–1521) coincided with its development. This style was much influenced by the astonishing successes of the voyages of discovery of Portuguese navigators, from the coastal areas of Africa to the discovery of Brazil and the ocean routes to the Far East, drawing heavily on the style and decorations of East Indian temples.
Even if the period of this style did not last long (from 1490 to 1520), it played an important part in the Portuguese history of art. The influence of the style, however, outlived the king. Celebrating the newly maritime power, it manifested itself in architecture (churches, monasteries, palaces, castles) and extended into other arts such as sculpture, painting, works of art made of precious metals, faience and furniture.