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Monday, June 14, 2010

Museo Nacional De Bellas Artes

One of the museum's many exhibitions
The Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes is difficult to miss considering that it is located on one of the busiest streets in Buenos Aires and is almost directly adjacent to the Flor de Metal, one of the most recognized sights in the city.  That, and the building is red.  

Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
Location: Av. Del Libertador 1473, Recoleta 
Phone: (54-11) 4803-8814/4803-0802/4803-4691
Hours: 12:30pm - 8:30pm Tues - Fri, 9:30am - 8:30pm Sat, Sun & Holidays, Closed Mon
Admission: Free! 

This museum opened its doors on Christmas day, 1895 in the building that is currently the Galerias Pacifico mall on Florida Street.  The collection lived through a couple of location changes until it settled into its current location, previously a major waterworks building, in 1932.  The museum is quite large with something like 35 exhibition rooms that are organized by era, artist origin and style.  According to Eyewitness Travel, there are over 12,000 pieces in the museum's collection, although only 700 can be displayed at one time.  The museum has two floors, although the second floor has been under construction each time I have been there (as of April 2010).  

Two Dancers in Red and Yellow, 1898
Edgar Degas
There is an impressive collection of Argentine artwork from artists like Antonio Segui, Leon Ferrari, Xul Solar and Fernando Fader.  The highlight of my visits were the number of big name European artists they had displayed - Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Renoir, Degas, Picasso, etc, etc.  Not only is the collection of big name artists larger than I would have thought, but the pieces are completely accessible to visitors.  No velvet rope, no Plexiglas shields, just a little tape line on the floor requesting that you stand at least 4 inches away from the artwork.  There is even a pleasant female voice that kindly requests that you "Stand behind the yellow tape" should you forget and get too close. 

The Museo de Bellas Artes offers $35 peso audio tours in English and Spanish, the complete tour is 80 minutes long.  I love that it is so easy to walk in and out of this museum, with free admission it is a great place to go to pass time. 

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