This is the oldest art museum in Latin America and one of the symbols of the celebration of the Centenary of the Republic in 1910. In this building, whose design alludes to the Petit Palais in Paris, on display is a large and varied collection of over 5,500 original works, including paintings, sculptures and graphic works by national and foreign artists. The permanent collections include Chilean painting and sculpture.
Set in the heart of the Forestal Park, this museum is suitable for the general public, and offers guided tours in Spanish, English and French. It also has a specialized library, an education department, shop, bookshop and café.
The highlight of this two-floor building is its glass dome, designed and built in Belgium, which gives a great deal of light to the central hall. The dome structure weighs approximately 115,000 kilos, and the glass pieces total 2,400.
On 31 March 2015, in a historical event, was reopened the inner corridor that connect the Fine Arts National Museum and the Contemporary Art Museum, located in the Forestal Park. The decision has a permanent nature, and it will allow the free transit of the public between these two institutions, it didn´t happen since 1929.
The National Fine Arts Museum was declared a National Monument on December 30, 1976.
Founded as the National Painting Museum on September 18, 1880, from the outset it occupied the first floor of what used to be the National Congress; starting in 1887, it was housed in the building known as “The Parthenon”, now the Science and Technology Museum, inside the Quinta Normal Park.
In 1901, the Government called for proposals for the architectural design and construction of the museum and the Fine Arts School. The winning project was that of Chilean-French architect Emile Jéquier, who was commissioned to construct the building located on the northern bank of the Mapocho River. The gardens surrounding the Museum gave rise to the Forestal Park.
The new building was officially opened on September 21, 1910, as part of the works to celebrate the Centenary of the Republic. The opening ceremony was held as part of an important international arts exhibition with 14 guest countries.
Throughout its more than 100 years of history, the Fine Arts Museum has set up high-level exhibitions that have contributed to popularizing the art history of Chile, America and the world. Specially worth noting are the “Tribute to Picasso” exhibition held in 2007, with around 70 graphic works by avant-garde artists of the last century who extolled Picasso’s genius; the international exhibition on the occasion of the “100th Anniversary of the Fine Arts Museum: from Past to Present. Migrations”, which included a selection of works acquired at the turn of the 20th century; and the “Matta 100” exhibition held in 2011 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Chilean artist Roberto Matta’s birth.
A highlight of the Fine Arts Museum management is its innovative “Museums without Walls” project, which since 2010 has opened up artistic venues in widely attended centers, allowing the public to come into direct contact with all the artistic heritage of the oldest museum in Latin America.
Both the Permanent Art Exhibition and Temporary Exhibitions are currently organized around the Collection of Chilean Painting, Chilean Sculpture, the Collection of Engravings, the Collection of Spanish Painting, the Golden Age in Holland, the Collection of Italian Painting, the Collection of 15th-17th century Italian drawings, the Collection of African Sculpture and the Photography Collection.
José Miguel de La Barra, 650, Santiago.