Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
Argentina’s traditional fine arts museum mixes works by European artists such as El Greco, Goya, Klee, Picasso, Renoir, Rodin, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Van Gogh with their Argentine counterparts, including Antonio Berni, Cándido López, Raquel Forner, Benito Quinquela Martín, Prilidiano Pueyrredón, and Lino Spilimbergo.
In total it houses about 11,000 oils, watercolors, sketches, engravings, tapestries, and sculptures. Among the most intriguing are López’s detailed oils, which relate the history of the Paraguayan war (1864–1870)—even though the artist lost his right arm to a grenade.
Oddly enough, architect Julio Dormald designed the 1870s building as a pump house and filter plant for the city waterworks; renowned architect Alejandro Bustillo adapted it to its current purpose in the early 1930s.
The Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Avenida del Libertador 1473, tel. 011/4803-0802, www.mnba.org.ar, free) is open 12:30–8:30 p.m. Tuesday–Friday; weekend hours start at 9:30 a.m. Guided tours take place Tuesday–Friday at 4 and 6 p.m., and weekends at 5 and 6 p.m.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Argentina, 3rd edition