Buildings of Buenos Aires – National Museum of Decorative Arts

So. This is another truly remarkable building in the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires. Now, one could be easily fooled by the title, couldn’t one? I mean, it sounds like a few mostly beige rooms with fancy cups that definitely wouldn’t be on my list of places to see. In fact, if my wife hadn’t been dead set on going to the National Museum of Decorative Arts, I wouldn’t have ended up going there either.

But, it is not the contents of this museum that is the reason for going, instead, the palace that houses it is the real treasure. There’s something about old buildings that transports you back in time. A building presented as it would have been in its heyday, for me it helps history come alive in a way a conventional museum never can. The colours, the fact that you are INSIDE history. It’s almost like time travel.

Sort of drawing room at a guess.

The palace was built in the early 1900s and belonged to the Errazuriz Alvear family. It was sold to the Argentinian government and according to the brochure in 1936, becoming a museum in 1937. So, it’s been a museum for a fair old time. I believe the style (also from the brochure) is French Neoclassical.

Entrance gate with cafe on the right (as you face it).

You enter through a pretty nice gate. Across the road is a large park, inside the gate is a café. It’s a good idea to put away your bag and valuables – keeping your camera, and there are lockers below ground for that and a small collection down there too. Not to mention toilets.

Hello!

Anyways. Pictures do the talking for this one. Marble staircases, a wonderful inside balcony, a great bathroom too. The red, the white, it’s a genuinely amazing building to be in. It feels older than its 100-120 year old history. And it’s still a very decent size too. Not as big as the Palacio Paz, but most of the rooms are open to the public.

And it does show just how much money there was in Buenos Aires in the first couple of decades of the 20th century. You take a left not long before the entrance and there is a room with lots of paintings and books, yes, it quite possible was a library. Mad selfie time! SNAP!

Rooms go from a dark, velvety red feel to a white, more baroque feel. But regardless, there are still amazing chandeliers to light your way. No doubt we went from sitting room to ballroom. In all the rooms you will see ‘decorative arts’, whatever they may be. From porcelain to paintings, I suppose anything that helps decorate the palace is technically a work of ‘decorative art’.

Back room.

The room at the very back of the palace has columns around the side, statues, vases, giant paintings and more. It’s more a mash of styles than one thing in particular. Still, it seems to sum up historical buildings in Buenos Aires quite well.

From above.

The large open area with a balcony (the second floor around it) and a table in the middle may have been a room for greeting, or for dining. I suppose it’s a hall. I would like such a room in my place, except that this room was definitely bigger on its own than my place. At least twice the size of my apartment in Japan!

The second floor was more of the same. The balcony is great and just a wee bit rickety, and there was a simply wonderful marble bathroom with an old style shaving mirror. What a place to take a bath!

Mirrors, painting, drawing rooms and bedrooms on the second floor. The palace is, well, quite the palace indeed! This remarkable building should be on your list if you are visiting Buenos Aires, don’t let the poxy name put you off.

Oh, and the obligatory Ballroom.

Thanks for reading, take care and as always – May the Journey Never End!

2 comments

  • Shikha (whywasteannualleave)

    Oh what?! This looks beautiful Andy & exactly the kind of place I would enjoy visiting – how on earth did I miss it and not even know about it when I went?!

  • Amazing! I guess it really is true then what people say about Buenos Aires being a European city in Latin America – some of those buildings and rooms wouldn’t look out of place in Rome.

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