The Chacara do Ceu itself is a work of art, built amidst lush gardens in 1954 with a 360-degree panoramic view of Rio and the surrounding area. The name of the house and museum means “Country House of the Sky,” and the views of both the city and the artworks are heavenly. The museum features the works of Brazilian and international painters, sculptors, and engravers, from contemporary artist Candido Portinari to French Impressionist master Henri Matisse. Sadly, works by Matisse, Picasso, Dalí, and Monet were stolen from the museum in 2006 and never recovered. Still, the remaining items in the collection more than make up for the lost pieces, and the low admission price ensures that art is accessible to the Brazilian public, to whom Castro Maya bequeathed his collection upon his death in 1968. Guided sightseeing tours of the Santa Teresa neighborhood are available and include a visit to the museum.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The rest of Castro Maya’s collection is housed at the affiliated Museu do Açude, his other house.
- Travelers say the on-site garden offers a quiet respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.
- Visit nearby Parque das Ruínas, which features an art gallery built around the ruins of a mansion, as well as a cafe.
- The museum is equipped with an elevator for accessibility.
How to Get There
Chacara do Ceu is located at the end of Rua Murtinho Nobre, and is accessible via public transportation. Take the subway to the Gloria stop via Line 1 (orange) or Line 2 (green), then grab a taxi along Rua Candido Mendes to the museum. Or take the subway to Carioca via Lines 1 or 2, then the tram to Santa Teresa.
When to Get There
The museum is closed during Carnival, which takes place in February, as well as other major holidays. Temporary exhibitions run throughout the year, so check the museum’s website for up-to-date information on current shows. At night, it is recommended that travelers avoid the alleys and small streets in Santa Teresa for safety reasons.
The Palacio de Belas Artes Art lovers will also want to visit the Palacio de Belas Artes, which is home to the National Museum of Fine Arts. Here, see paintings, sculptures, and drawings that date from the colonial period to present day. Plus, the French Renaissance-style structure’s ornate stone facade is worth seeing on its own.
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