Havana's fine-arts museum occupies two separate buildings, each of which deserves careful exploration. The original location on Calle Trocadero, finished in 1954, occupies the site of what was once a market. Designed by Alfonso Rodríguez Pichardo, the building, a compact prism with a large central courtyard, seems to breathe light. It now contains a varied and exciting Cuban collection. The third floor has 16th- to 19th-century colonial religious paintings, portraits, landscapes, and street scenes. Rooms 3 and 4 follow the 1927–38 beginning and consolidation of Cuban modern art. On the second floor, in rooms 5–8, are works by artists from the 1950s to 1990s. The power, color density, and intensity of Cuban painting is extraordinary, as is the rush through 500 years of history—from Armando Menocal's chained Columbus embarking for Spain in 1493 to Servando Cabrera Moreno's Guernica-like depiction of the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion and beyond to more contemporary pieces. Paintings
to look for include the sensual El Rapto de las Mulatas by Carlos Enríquez, Gitana Tropical (sometimes known as the "Cuban Mona Lisa") by Victor Manuel Garcia, Maternidad by Wifredo Lam, Recibido en Mal Estado by Zaida del Río, and Mundo Sonádo by Tonel (Antonio Eligio Fernandez).