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- Address: Avenida Rio Branco, 199 - Centro
- Hours: Closed Mondays Tuesday to Friday from 10 am to 6 pm Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays from 12 pm to 5 pm.
Set in an impressive neoclassical building in downtown Rio de Janeiro that harkens back to an era when the city was a national—and imperial—capital, the National Fine Arts Museum (Museu Nacional de Belas Artes) houses over 16,000 artworks created by Brazilian painters, sculptors, and other visual artists. Focused mainly on artists from the 19th century, including Brazilian-born but French-trained painter Victor Meirelles de Lima and painter-turned-educator Pedro Américo, the museum also features works imported from Europe when the Portuguese royal family moved the imperial capital from Lisbon to Rio ahead of Napoleon’s troops in 1807, and works by contemporary Brazilian artists such as Lithuanian émigré and Modernist artist Lasar Segall and Nativist painter Di Cavalcanti, a heavyweight in the Brazilian Modernist movement who attempted to exclude any discernible European influences in his artwork.
Opened in 1937, the museum includes a collection of Brazilian folk art with a heavy focus on northeastern Brazil, and a collection of traditional West African art, such as textiles, wood carvings, and masks. Paintings featuring religious scenes and iconography, such as Giovanni Battista Tieppolo’s reverent Saint Cajetan and 16th century humanist Francisco de Holanda’s The Lord’s Supper make up some of the signature pieces of the museum’s international holdings.