About the artist's life almost nothing is known, except that in 1450 he was appointed court painter under king Afonso V, in 1471, an architectural artist in Lisbon. In this position, he painted the altar of Se Cathedral in Lisbon, work, unfortunately, was destroyed by the earthquake of 1755.
Known picture "Ecce Homo" was supposed to be the only surviving work of Nuno Gonçalves.
Medieval artist, architect and critic Francisco Dutch in his "Dialogues of the ancient art" says Gonsalves as "the eagle" Portuguese painting, master of his time, and that his work was lost.
In 1882, in the Cathedral of St. Vicente in Lisbon was discovered painted altar panels in very bad condition, called the "Polyptych of St. Vicente". The themes of these paintings, iconography, authorship, Dating carefully studied, and became for many years a topic of hot debate of different specialists. Was recently deciphered an important detail, previously taken for arabesco, with the date 1445, and monograms NG, recognized as the author painted by Nuno Gonçalves. Dating served as a basis to believe that the subject is the infant don Fernando, who was killed in the battle of the Upscale in 1443
The panel also was subject to expertize in the dendrochronological laboratory of Hamburg University, which determined the time of creation of paintings years 1442-1452. The study found material – wood Baltic oak, familiar to artists of the time.
Released from 400 years of oblivion, the Portuguese artist Nuno Goncalves was recognized as the founder of the Portuguese school of painting.