National & International Fine Art
If your schedule in Santiago only allows you to visit one out of the several museums on offer in the city, we recommend without thinking twice, you to visit the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Chile´s National Fine Arts Museum). For the lovers of culture and art exhibitions, there are several reasons why this should be the number 1 on your cultural activity list in Santiago Chile. We put a couple of good reasons why you should not write it off here: First, this is a free activity; second, it is located in an area of the capital dotted by must-see tourist destinations, thus being an easy,inexpensive spot to get to.
Chile´s National Fine Arts Museum
Chile´s National Fine Arts Museum is a building of imposing architecture sitting just accross the beautiful Parque Forestal in Santiago Downtown area. The museum was initially created for the dissemination of art that began to flourish in the country in mid/late nineteenth century, when its artworks began to be gathered. Since 1880 most of these very paintings, portraits and sculptures have been housed in different buildings; until, finally, in 1990, the current Palace of Fine Arts was established as the definite home of an art collection that began with 140 pieces and now boasts over 5,000 (not all of them are on display).
On the ground floor, fine marble statues welcome visitors, the authorship of these statues are from both national and international artists. On the other facilities, the exhibit rooms are decorated with endless oil paintings of various themes, influences and schools. Present among these artworks are some of the most interesting portraits of Liberator Bernardo O’Higgins composed by the painter José Gil de Castro (the Mulato Gil), born in Peru, and later citizenized Chilean. On the first floor, there is an extensive room with beautiful compositions of the prominent Chilean expressionist painter Israel Roa, who received several awards for the magnitude of his art and came to influence future generations of artists in the country. Chile´s National Fine Arts Museum is not about Chilean art collections only; art lovers will also find here Italian drawings dating from the XV- XVII century, a large number of Spanish paintings, as well as African sculptures. Although it seems a lot of information to take in at once, depending on the depth of your interests, this is a visit that can last from 40 minutes to 3 hours. In case modern art is more alluring to you, the museum, throughout the year, also display exhibits with more of a contemporary context. Furthermore, don´t let the uniqueness of the showcased pieces distract you from the design of the building itself, the bright, spacious and detailed interior is a plus for architecture enthusiasts.
The museum has a small shop on the right side of the main entrance. A good option for those looking for a souvenir, books or materials with more information about the artworks. Guided tours are available only in Spanish, and as well as the museum´s admission, are free. Tours last 45 minutes and follow the schedulle: Tuesday to Friday begin at 10:30hr, 11:30hr, 12:30hr, 15:30hr and 16:30hr. On Saturdays and Sundays there is an additional tour starting at 17:30hr. Its oppening hours are from 10:00hr to 18:45hr. Chile´s National fine Arts Museum closes for maintenance every Monday of the year and on Chilean national holidays.
How to Get There & Other Tips!
The nearest metro station to the museum is Bellas Artes, on the green line. However, if you want to combine this activity with all the others available in these same surroundings, head to Universidad Catolica metro station. From there visit GAM, stroll around Barrio Lastarria, take photos of Santiago atop the Cerro Santa Lucia hill, to finally go to Museo de Bellas Artes, it is only a stone´s throw. At the end of it all, treat yourself with a more than deserved and refreshing ice cream at Emporio La Rosa, located opposite to Parque Forestal. It will be an eventful day in Santiago Centro!