Not far from Plaza Murillo and the La Paz Cathedral, the Bolivian National Museum of Art is housed in a soaring, colonial-era palace which serves as a calming respite from the frenetic La Paz city center. Even those who aren’t into art will appreciate the historic grounds and intricate architecture which dates to 1775.
Once inside the museum, however, paintings and sculptures from a wide range of Bolivian artists depict everything from religious reenactments to scenes of colonial conquest. Opened to the public in 1960, the Museum of National Art boasts an impressive collection of pieces from over the past five decades and were brought back home to the center of La Paz. Among the artists featured here is the female artist Marina Núñez del Prado, who is regarded as one of the finest sculptors - male or female - to ever come out of Latin America. Creating works known for their sensuous curves, Núñez del Prado was the first Bolivian female to break into a sculpting industry which up until that point had been dominated by men.
Another artist on permanent display is Arturo Borda, a 20th-century Bolivian painter who gained notoriety for his highly detailed human portraits. Enamored with the subjects of indigenous peoples and close family members, a number of Borda’s portraits are now housed in the museum to be protected for eternity.
In addition to all of the Colonial-era and 20th-century artwork, the museum also features post-modern and abstract artists who represent the present and future of the Bolivian arts scene. With multiple centuries of Bolivian art all under one roof, the Bolivian National Museum of Art is a cultural treasure that local Bolivian people are not only lucky to have - but visitors to La Paz are also lucky to see.