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The Art Museum of Lima – A Long History of Peruvian Art

The Art Museum of Lima (MALI) invites us into three thousand years of Peruvian art history, from Pre-Columbian and Colonial to Republican and Contemporary.  In fact, the MALI is the only museum space in the country that holds exhibitions that present long periods of the history of Peruvian art.

MALI - Art Museum of Lima - MALI - Museo de Arte de Lima

As one of the best museums in the country according to the numerous recognitions it has received, including from the Ministry of Culture of Peru, MALI is well worth the visit.  With its extensive exhibitions, seeing everything is quite a feat, but the individual exhibits on their own can leave you satisfied by the quality and rigor of samples of art. 

MALI: Short History

MALI - Art Museum of Lima - MALI - Museo de Arte de Lima

The MALI’s newest permanent exhibition was inaugurated in September 2015. The exhibit draws upon more than 1200 pieces of its collection, through which we come to know a wide period of three thousand years of history and cultural changes in the territory. The permanent exhibition includes rooms of Pre-Columbian, Colonial, 19th Century, 20th Century, Contemporary Art, Textile, Colonial and Republican Silverware, Drawing and Costumbrismo, and Photography. These two last rooms deserve special mention, since you will not find another better space to learn about the development of Indigenismo in Painting and Photography.

The daguerreotype arrived early to Lima in 1842 and only a few years later to Cusco. With the passing of years and technical changes, its commercial use was rapidly extended to other provinces such as Arequipa, Iquitos, Cajamarca and Trujillo, and with this came artistic initiatives and social registers. The Peruvian photographic tradition has outstanding representatives, among them, Martín Chambi, who was originally from Puno but from an early age resided in Cusco and was part of the “indigenista” movement. It is worth mentioning that photography filled the gap left by the absence of art schools. Only in 1918 was the National School of Fine Arts founded, and its impact was great, coinciding with a renewal of a look towards the regional customs and Andean landscapes along with revalorization of pre-Columbian art. Hence, it is advisable to visit the 20th Century XX and meet painters such as José Sabogal, Julia Codesido, and Jorge Vinatea Reinoso, among others.

The Art Museum of Lima

MALI - Art Museum of Lima - MALI - Museo de Arte de Lima

Additionally, the museum offers temporary exhibitions that generate great impact on the local public by often filling the gaps between scientific research and the information navigated by the general public. Such examples include its showings of the Chavín and Nasca cultures, and also of contemporary art. The MALI has established itself as one of the institutions that has made the greatest efforts to offer rigorous academic innovation in the interpretation of heritage and art.

The building, located in one of the busiest areas of Lima, was built for exhibition purposes in 1871 to celebrate 50 years of Peruvian Independence, and is considered a historical monument. If you are looking for art in your travels, without a doubt, the MALI is an essential piece of your itinerary in Lima.

Address: Paseo Colón 125, Parque de la Exposición, Lima 1, Perú.
Main phone: (+51-1) 20 40000 / Fax: (+51-1) 331 0126. Email[email protected]

Visiting Hours:

Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00- 19:00 h. | Saturdays until 17:00 h. | A Night in the MALI (#NocheMALI) first Friday of the month until 22:00 h. | Closed Mondays, Day of Work (May 1), Christmas (Dec. 24 and 25) and New Year’s Day (Jan. 1).

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