Daughter of King Afonso V and the queen, his wife D. Isabel, the princess was a long-awaited child, since she would provide stability to the kingdom as the natural successor to the throne. The princess is remembered as possessing great beauty and grace, as well as for having refused several suitors, one of whom was the son of Louis VI, King of France.
However, she never had any intentions of getting married, since her desire at an early age was to dedicate herself to a religious life. Despite her father's initial protests, she eventually wore the religious habit. In 1472 she entered the Convent of Jesus in Aveiro, fervently fulfilling her vows of poverty, and helping the poorest with such dedication that the people soon considered her to be a saint. After her death in 1490 she was buried in the choir below the Monastery of Jesus chapel, where her relics are kept to this day. The devotion that had already been bestowed upon her in life only increased after her death, since she was a figure much beloved by all. She was beatified by Pope Innocent XII in 1693.
Blessed Joana of Portugal, known as Princess Santa Joana to her devotees, was declared patron saint of Aveiro in 1965. The artist Diogo Landô was inspired by the life and legend of Princess Santa Joana, making a point of visiting the Monastery of Jesus, where the tomb of the princess is located, in order to imbue himself with the essence that surrounds her figure. As can be seen, the tiles on the floor of the mausoleum were inserted into the work as a decorative element. Several other iconographic and historical elements make up the piece, such as the portrait of the Princess created by the painter Nuno Gonçalves (15th century), which, together with photography, digital painting and collage, has led to the creation of a new portrait of Princess Santa Joana.