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The National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana

The National Museum of Fine Arts of Havana or el Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana in Old Havana is a museum of Fine Arts that exhibits both Cuban and foreign art collections from the colonial times up to the present.

There are now two impressive buildings belonging to the Museum, one dedicated to Cuban Arts in the Palace of Fine Arts or Palacio de Bellas Artes and one dedicated to the Universal Arts, in the Palace of the Asturian Center or Palacio del Centro Asturiano.

The Palace of Fine Arts was founded in February of 1913 due to the efforts of its first director, Architect Emilio Heredia. After frequent moves it was finally placed on the block once occupied by the old Colon Market.

In 1954, a new Palace of Fine Arts was opened, designed by the architect Rodriguez Pichardo, and was recently reconstructed by architect Jose Linares. It is dedicated exclusively to housing Cuba Art collections. Spanning the 17th and 19th centuries, it has rooms devoted to landscape, religious subjects and the Costumbrismo or everyday scenes of Cuban life.

A gallery devoted to the 1970s contains preponderantly Hyper realism and the latest generation of Cuban artists whose works all reflect the strong symbolic imagery that has been prevalent in recent decades. The most notable works are those of René Portocarrero and Wifredo Lam. A modernist sculpture by noted Cuban artist Rita Longa stands outside the main entrance.

The Palace of the Asturian Center, built in 1927 by architect Manuel Bustos, contains European paintings and sculptures, along with a collection of ancient art. Originally, it was a club for natives of the Spanish Province of Asturias and after the 1959 Revolution it housed the Supreme Court of Justice.

Edited by Ivan Martínez
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