Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
The international section of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (National Fine Arts Museum, San Rafael, e/ Zulueta y Monserrate, tel. 07/863-9484 or 862-0140, www.museonacional.cult.cu, Tues.–Sat. 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.–2 p.m., entrance CUC5, or CUC8 for both sections, guided tour CUC2) occupies the Centro Asturiano, on the southeast side of Parque Central.
The building, lavishly decorated with neoclassical motifs, was erected in 1885 but rebuilt in Renaissance style in 1927 following a fire and until recently housed the postrevolutionary People’s Supreme Court. A highlight is the stained-glass window above the main staircase showing Columbus’s three caravels.
The art collection is displayed on five floors covering 4,800 square meters. The works are separated by nationality and span the United States, Latin America, Asia, and Europe—including masters such as Gainsborough, Goya, Murillo, Rubens, Velásquez, and various Impressionists. The museum also boasts Latin America’s richest trove of Roman, Greek, and Egyptian antiquities.
A 248-seat theater hosts cultural activities.
The Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes also has a Cuban Section in a separate building representing a complete spectrum of Cuban art.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Cuba, 5th Edition