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National Museum of Fine Arts

View Cuba’s formal art collections at these two sites, one focused on international and the other on Cuban art.

National Museum of Fine Arts (Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes) is a two-part art museum with international art ranging from 500 B.C. to modern day, and Cuban art with thematic art from historic periods. Spend the day at the two sites or make two separate visits.

While you can see international art in most major worldwide cities, Cuban art is far less common outside of its home country. Be sure to visit the Cuban collection, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Arte Cubano), especially if this is a once-in-a-lifetime visit to Cuba.

This glimpse of Cuban art from colonial times to the revolution of the mid-1900s parallels the social and political changes experienced by the people of the country. Much of the art is by working-class painters. Notice the pieces capturing subjugation of the people under Spanish rule hundreds of years ago and political art before and after the revolution, documenting feelings of victory and freedom as well as confusion and criticism.

Some of the great artists represented in the Cuban portion of the National Fine Arts Museum include Carlos Quintana, Rigoberto Mena, Guillermo Collazo, Rafael Blanco, Raúl Martínez, Tomás Sánchez, and Wilfredo Lam. Look for a range of works from cartoons to pop art and surrealism. Temporary exhibits feature works by modern artists.

Visit the international portion of the museum in the Asturian Center, a beautiful early 20th-century building, to see its huge stained-glass ceiling and elegant staircase. The art ranges from Greek, Egyptian and Roman to modern European. The site also has one half of Canaletto’s Chelsea from the Thames, while the other half resides in Norfolk, England.

Stop in either of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes sites for a pleasant afternoon of air conditioning and art appreciation. Pay one admission fee for a same-day visit for both sites, which are open from Tuesday to Sunday. In the museum’s gift shop, purchase posters of your favorite art works as mementos of your trip to Cuba. The museum locations are in Old Town Havana, a short walk from El Capitolio and the Máximo Gómez Monument.


Guide to Exploring around Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes


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Hotel Nacional de Cuba $142
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Hotel Nacional de Cuba

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              Art Studio Habana Vieja 55

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                Art Boutique Hotel Old Havana

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