Manuel Cargaleiro was born in 1927, in the region of Vila Velha de Rodão, in the municipality of Castelo Branco. He is one of the most acclaimed Portuguese artists.

In 1952 he held his first exhibition in Lisbon and in 1954 he was awarded the National Ceramics Prize. He was a professor of Ceramics at the António Arroio School of Decorative Arts, in Lisbon.

In 1957 he received a scholarship from the Italian Government that allowed him to visit Italy and study ceramics in Faenza, Rome and Florence.

In 1982 he receives the Order of the Cross of Santiago da Espada, on the Day of Portugal and in 1983 he receives the Degree of Officier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government.

With numerous exhibitions in Portugal and abroad, his work deals with painting, ceramics, engraving and tapestry.

In 2004 he opened the Museo Artistico Industriale di Ceramica Manuel Cargaleiro, in Italy and in 2005, the Foundation - Museum Cargaleiro in Castelo Branco.