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National Fine Arts Museum (Museu Nacional de Belas Artes)

Brazilian paintings of the 19th and 20th century, works by European masters and pieces of African art make up this museum’s extensive collection.

Discover the incredible riches of Brazilian art history with a tour through the comprehensive collection at Rio’s National Fine Arts Museum (Museu Nacional de Belas Artes). Admire the works of the giants of Brazilian art such as Pedro Américo and Di Cavalcanti, as well extensive collections of European and African art. After exploring the museum, step outside and admire the architectural treasures in the surrounding historic square.

The National Fine Arts Museum building has stood on the Rio square of Cinelândia since 1908. The museum’s collection originated in 1808, when the Portuguese royal family moved from Lisbon to Rio in order to escape the advance of Napoleon’s troops. The artwork that they brought with them from the Portuguese Royal Collection served as the first pieces of the collection now in the National Fine Arts Museum’s collection.

Start out by touring the permanent collection on the museum’s second floor. Most pieces are by Brazilian artists of the 19th and 20th century. See the museum’s many works by the 19th-century painter Pedro Américo, one of Brazil’s most famous artists. See his expertly crafted portraits and his intricate, wall-sized work The Battle of Avaí, which depicts a battle of the Paraguayan War. Also, find works by Di Cavalcanti, a Brazilian modernist painter whose main goal was to paint in a way that escaped all European influences.

The museum also features works from around the world. The sculpture gallery features copies of works by French masters. Also, see the collection of European religious art from the Middle Ages, and check out the collection of African art, which features masks, carvings and textiles.

After visiting the museum, step outside and explore the impressive architecture that surrounds Rio’s central square, Cinelândia. Latin America’s largest library, the National Library, and Rio’s main opera house, the Theatro Municipal, both face this historic square.

Arrive at the National Fine Arts Museum by bus or via the metro stop in the center of Cinelândia. Parking in the area can be hard to find, since the museum is located in the center of downtown Brazil. The museum is open from Tuesday through Sunday.


Guide to Exploring around National Fine Arts Museum


Map

Best Lodging Options Near National Fine Arts Museum

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Américas Granada Hotel ¥4,465
Américas Granada Hotel

Américas Granada Hotel

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    3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Lapa, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Arcos da Lapa and Catedral de Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro. National Library (Biblioteca Nacional) and Museum of Modern Art are also within 1 mi (2 km). Carioca Station is 13 minutes by foot and Presidente Vargas Station is 13 minutes.

    Selina Lapa Rio de Janeiro ¥4,499
    Selina Lapa Rio de Janeiro

    Selina Lapa Rio de Janeiro

    Rua Visc. de Maranguape, 9 - Centro, Rio de Janeiro
       
      2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Lapa, this hotel is steps from Guanabara Bay and Arcos da Lapa. Catedral de Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro and National Library (Biblioteca Nacional) are also within 10 minutes. Cinelandia Station is 8 minutes by foot and Gloria Station is 9 minutes.

      Hotel Atlantico Business Centro ¥3,932
      Hotel Atlantico Business Centro

      Hotel Atlantico Business Centro

      Rua Senador Dantas, 25, Centro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
         
        3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Centro, this hotel is steps from Guanabara Bay and National Library (Biblioteca Nacional). Arcos da Lapa and Catedral de Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro are also within 10 minutes. Cinelandia Station is only a 4-minute walk and Carioca Station is 7 minutes.

        Prodigy Santos Dumont ¥9,175
        Prodigy Santos Dumont

        Prodigy Santos Dumont

        Av. Almirante Silvio de Noronha, 365, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
           
          3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Centro, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Guanabara Bay and Museum of Modern Art. National Library (Biblioteca Nacional) and Flamengo Beach are also within 2 mi (3 km). Cinelandia Station is 17 minutes by foot and Carioca Station is 21 minutes.

          ibis Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont ¥3,776
          ibis Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont

          ibis Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont

          Rua Marechal Camara 280 Centro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
             
            3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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            Casa Nova Hotel ¥4,719
            Casa Nova Hotel

            Casa Nova Hotel

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              3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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              Hotel O.K ¥3,670
              Hotel O.K

              Hotel O.K

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                3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Centro, this hotel is steps from Guanabara Bay and National Library (Biblioteca Nacional). Arcos da Lapa and Catedral de Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro are also within 10 minutes. Cinelandia Station is only a 4-minute walk and Carioca Station is 7 minutes.

                ibis Rio de Janeiro Centro ¥4,067
                ibis Rio de Janeiro Centro

                ibis Rio de Janeiro Centro

                Rua Silva Jardim 32 Torre I, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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