Beautiful Brazil, officially the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest country in both South America and the Latin American region. It is the world’s fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population. Wikipedia
During the centuries of colonialisation, Brazil saw millions of immigrants and slaves from all over the world flocking into the country. As a result, it is a diverse land with an array of cultures, languages, religions, flavours, colours and histories that make up its intricate heritage. These are accurately depicted in the many museums and galleries that are scattered throughout the country, inviting visitors to take a peek into yesteryear. This helps one to appreciate the rich history, as well as the many people that made their mark in this history, including politicians, royals, artists, scientists and even criminals.
Some of the best known museums in Brazil are:
The National Museum of Brazil
Established in 1818 as the Royal Museum, this fascinating establishment was first set up by the Portuguese king, Dom João VI. Its aim was to promote scientific research in the country as it was then mostly unexplored and untainted by human habitation, leaving much to be discovered. http://www.museunacional.ufrj.br/
The National Historical Museum of Brazil
This museum was established in 1922 and is home to the largest numismatic collection of Latin America. http://www.museuhistoriconacional.com.br/
Museu Imperial de Petrópolis
Located in Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro, this museum just oozes historical appeal. It was once the summer palace of the emperor, Dom Pedro II, and was built in the mid-19th century. http://www.museuimperial.gov.br/
The Historical and Geographic Museum of Campina Grande
This establishment is focused on its host city, Campina Grande in Paraíba. It tells the tale of its complex history by means of hundreds of artefacts and photographs.
Museu Entomológico Fritz Plaumann
As the largest entomological museum in Latin America, this museum is home to more than 80 000 samples of over 17 000 different species of insects. Fritz Plaumann, the namesake of the museum, was a well respected entomologist. http://www.museufritzplaumann.ufsc.br/
The Butantan Institute
This is one of São Paulo’s most popular tourist attractions and consists of a snake pit, biological museum, microbiological museum and historical museum, ensuring that there will be something for everyone to enjoy. http://www.butantan.gov.br/home/
The Museum of the Portuguese Language
As the major colonialists of centuries past, the Portuguese nation make up an integral part of Brazilian culture and heritage. This museum, situated in the city of São Paulo, is an interactive experience for visitors wanting to know more about the language of these Europeans. http://www.museulinguaportuguesa.org.br/
The São Paulo Museum of Art
The São Paulo Museum of Art is an important landmark and is acclaimed for its collection of fine art. http://masp.art.br/masp2010/
Museu Nacional de Belas Artes
This is a significant art museum and is situated in Rio de Janeiro. As such, it attracts many tourists and locals alike. http://www.mnba.gov.br/abertura/abertura.htm
Other well-known and frequented museums and galleries include:
• Rio Grande do Sul Museum of Art
• Júlio de Castilhos Museum
• Museu de Arte de Santa Catarina
• Museu de Arte Moderna in Rio de Janeiro
• Museu de Arte da Pampulha
• Museu Casa de Portinari
• Museu de Arte Sacra
• Museu de Arte Contemporânea do Paraná
• Museu Internacional de Arte Naif do Brasil
• Forte das Cinco Pontas/Recife City Museum
• Pinacoteca in São Paulo
• Museu Mariano Procópio
• Museu Victor Meirelles
• Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói
• Mariano Procópio Museum
“There are many Brazilian arts, just as there are many Brazils and artists working in the geographical territory called Brazil”
Cristiana Tejo Revista das Artes
In the 25 years since the restoration of full democracy, Brazil has become a major player on the world’s stage, and contemporary art in Brazil has acquired similar importance. Artists working in Brazil are finding increasing recognition abroad, both within South America and in the global arena, as demonstrated by strong showings in international Biennials, and the growing presence of Brazilian dealers and gallerists at international art fairs.
Prior to this recent upsurge in global recognition of all things Brazilian, much cultural production within Brazil was less known on the global scene, with artists in exile often being better known than their compatriots at home.
With contemporary art acquiring increasingly international and global characteristics, there may appear to be little that distinguishes contemporary art made in Brazil from that produced elsewhere. Within Brazil itself it may be hard to find a ‘national identity’ for a culture in general that stretches much further than popular infatuation with football, and the celebratory enthusiasm for carnaval. Brazil is a country of continental proportions with seemingly little apart from language, football and carnival to link it together. The Brazil of a metropolitan São Paulo is very different even from the Brazil of Rio de Janeiro and more especially from the dusty rural areas of the northeast or the distant jungles of Amazonas. Yet contemporary cultural production flourishes in all regions and on the level of more popular, craft-based visual arts regional differences are more pronounced.
Within Brazil itself, the major centres for contemporary art are generally considered to be Rio and São Paulo, and for many artists from other regions of the country success is often measured by showing in São Paulo. Without doubt, a considerable amount of very interesting and significant work is being produced in Rio and São Paulo. The major museums and commercial galleries are located here, and it can seem that all eyes are focused there rather than other activities in the regions. Prices for contemporary art are much higher in those two major cities. Yet other regional centres are increasingly making claims for inclusion on the itinerary as major centres for contemporary art production and exhibition. Belo Horizonte, in the Minas Gerais region, has the recently opened Inhotim, on a 3000-acre site, housing 600 works by more than 100 artists in 14 galleries and other exhibition spaces in gardens designed by the modernist landscapist Roberto Burle Marx. Salvador in Bahia has an important Museum of Modern Art, as does Recife in Pernambuco.
Early results of the globalisation of the Brazilian art system have begun to be felt in recent years. A new generation of artists is emerging that is less constrained by the restrictions of the past, with fewer memories of fear and repression. Liberalisation of the political system in the past 25 years, coupled with easier travel and communications and decentralisation have expanded the flow of information , which has driven greater professionalism and the growth of regional hubs in cities such as Recife, Fortaleza, Belem, Salvador, Belo Horizonte, and Porto Alegre, with the emergence of new museums, galleries and art events and a loosening of the perceived stranglehold formally exerted by the Rio – São Paulo axis. Recent cultural policies and growing professionalism have allowed more art professionals to remain in the regions rather than feeling compelled to migrate to Rio or São Paulo.
Art production has begun to find greater international recognition, largely through the efforts of gallerists and curators and wider international appreciation of Hélio Oiticica and Lygia Clark, two key names in Brazilian art since the 1950s
via … artquest.org.uk