A visit to the National Museum of Art (Museo Nacional de Arte) provides a journey through centuries of Bolivian and Latin American art. Enjoy a historical collection of pre-Hispanic and colonial-era art then spot work by revered contemporary artists.
The museum’s exhibits spread across three floors of the Palacio de los Condes de Arana, an elegant 18th-century mansion. Start your visit in the colonial galleries, which have a prevailing religious theme. Famous artists represented include Leonardo Flores and Gaspar Miguel de Berrio. Check out de Berrio’s Adoración de los Reyes y Adoración de los Pastores. It’s notable for its inclusion of an African figure, a rarity in colonial paintings from Bolivia.
Go to the gallery dedicated to Melchor Pérez Holguín, a Peruvian-born mestizo considered to be one of the masters of Andean colonial art. Highlights include the oil paintings Caída de Cristo and Virgen Lavandera.
The museum’s contemporary art displays showcase paintings and sculptures from the 19th century onward. Don’t miss the collection of works by the sculptor Marina Núñez del Prado, who was greatly inspired by the indigenous Aymara people. Her work is recognizable for the sensual curves of the female body.
Throughout the year the museum hosts numerous temporary expositions and cultural events. Previous examples include exhibitions about the evolution of children’s toys, displays of optical art and orchestral concerts. If you are visiting in May, ask when the Larga Noche de Museos (Long Night at the Museum) is on. During this event, the National Museum of Art and many of the city’s other museums, galleries, theaters and cultural centers all allow free admission to encourage people from all walks of life to enjoy cultural institutions.
The National Museum of Art is located just off Plaza Murillo, which is a common stop on many of the shared mini bus routes. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday. There is a nominal fee for permanent exhibitions, but all temporary exhibitions are free. Find full details of the opening hours, fees, scheduled temporary exhibitions and events on the museum’s official website.
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