Sunday, March 20, 2011


Recently, I visited the National Museum of Art in Rio de Janeiro. It's a great place to escape the bustle of the city. I forgot my sketchbook. I remembered my camera.

Here's a selection of the art on offer. Some of Brazil's greats like Portinari, Camargo, and Cavalcante to mention a few. Any questions about the art, or artists let me know as I haven't edited the photos with the artists name. I forgot, and didn't have time to get back around the gallery.

It's a big gallery housed in a beautiful old building with marble floors, huge ornate staircases, and towering ceilings. Some of the works are enormous, yet the gallery is able to provide them with ample space so that they can be viewed with comfort. There weren't enough seats though (gripe 1). I like to sit down and view art for some time, but I counted one I think. Not many over 3 floors. Another gripe (2). I pulled out my drink bottle at one point to take a quick swig and was promptly told to put it away. In no uncertain terms.

Gripe 3. I couldn't find anyone in the gallery who spoke English, but in this instance all of the artworks were described in English alongside the Portuguese. I only say this because if tourists are visiting they really need English speaking staff. Then the experience would be more pleasurable. Simply asking for the toilet can become a mission if you don't speak the lingo. Oh, and finding the toilet in Rio can be difficult. It's been all over the news here lately. During Carnavale there weren't any loos available, so people were peeing in the streets, behind cars, down lanes etc When you need to go..right?

Other things that don't gel (gripe 4). The exhibition hasn't been changed in 3 years. It's exactly the same as when I visited the last time. I guess this is due to financial constraints. There's isn't a cafetaria (gripe 5) or meeting place in which to slumber. There isn't a bookshop (gripe 6). What? Seriously a National Museum of Art without a bookshop?

Well despite all of this the art is wonderful. Some incredible artists, displayed beautifully in a gorgeous old building. If I had to give it a rating. I'd give it 3 stars. Well, that might be generous. A gallery can't simply rely on the art can it? Perhaps I should have a '5 gripes and you're out' rule.

I intend on writing a weekly review of art galleries I visit to share with you. Well, I say review. It will be an opinion about the place. Much like this. Short and sweet. I think one of the most important things in any gallery is 'hospitality'. The vibe. I'll probably speak less about the art, as that should speak for itself really. An artists statement has limited value. It's the art that speaks to the viewer, and sometimes I feel the artist statement can get in the way of that.

Thanks for visiting me. I'm really enjoying tapping away writing this blog and sharing my art and that of others. I hope you are too.


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