Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes Review
The world's largest collection of Argentine art is contained in this neoclassical wine-colored building. It also houses many lesser works by big-name European artists from the 12th through 20th centuries and hosts several high-profile temporary exhibitions per year.
Since 2010, alternating parts of the museum have been shut for renovation. At this writing, the European collection and 19th-century Argentine works are on display in the 24 ground-floor galleries; the upper floor, currently closed, will eventually hold the 20th-century collection.
War and peace. Cándido López painted the panoramic battle scenes with his left hand after losing his right arm in the 1870s during the War of the Triple Alliance. His work spearheaded contemporary primitive painting and is showcased in Gallery 23. Local master Eduardo Sívori’s tranquil landscapes (in Gallery 24) portray less turbulent times.
European masters. A whole room (Gallery 8) is given over to Goya’s dark, disturbing works. Nearby are minor works by El Greco, Rubens, Tiepolo, Titian, and Zurbarán. The room behind the entrance hall (Gallery 10) contains Rodin sculptures. The right wing includes paintings by Manet, Degas, Monet, Pissarro, Gaugin, and Toulouse-Lautrec.
Tips and Trivia
Information about most works is in Spanish only; however, free one-hour guided visits in English are offered on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday at 12:30, and Saturday at 2. Alternately, you can rent an MP3 audio guide (50 pesos) or purchase a printed guide (30 pesos); collection maps may be downloaded for free on the museum website.
You wouldn't know it by looking at the museum's elegant columned front, but the building was once the city's waterworks. Famed local architect Alejandro Bustillo oversaw its conversion into a museum in the early 1930s.
The museum owns more than 11,000 works, but restricted space means only 10% of them are ever on display.
The large modern pavilion behind the museum hosts excellent temporary exhibitions, often showcasing top local artists little known outside Argentina.
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