Museo de Arte Costaricense

On San Jose’s west side, at the end of the long and broad shopping avenue called the Paseo Colon, next to the entrance to the Sabana Grande Park, is the Museum of Costa Rican Art. In 1978, the museum moved into the former airport building with its decorated tower. Native architects adapted the building with a great deal of taste, taking pains to assure that the new museum had plenty of natural light and additional artificial lighting, essential for viewing and enjoying the paintings on exhibit.

Oil paintings and water colors, including works by Fausto Pacheco, Francisco Amighetti, Teodorico Quiros and Max Jimenez – the most famous of Costa Rica’s first generation of painters – are displayed. More recently, following World War II, abstract artists Manuel de la Cruz Gonzalez and Juan Luis Rodriguez brought modern art to the country. Interesting bronze, marble, granite and wood sculptures by Juan Rafael Chac6n and Olger Villegas represent Costa Rica’s contemporary art scene. Rudi Espinoza’s lithographs and Fabio Herrera’s canvases in acrylic paint give a comprehensive view of Costa Rican art.

The museum’s most important work, the Salon Dorado by French artist Luis Ferron, is on the first floor. His bronzelike relief covers 150 square meters and shows scenes from Costa Rica’s turbulent history. The four walls of the salon graphically depict the slow and difficult development of the country from the first settlements, through the Spanish conquest of the Indians, the struggle for independence and all the way through to the construction of the first airport in 1940 in this very building.

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