Brazil Travel


The high status and importance that Sao Paulo holds within Brazil is reflected in its amount of excellent museums, from those that house great European collections to the excellent collections of the Brazilian art museums. The diversity of the city is also reflected in the museums of Sao Paulo, with examples such as the Immigrant museum and the Japanese Immigration Museum.

Brazilian Art Museum/FAAP
This museum is housed in a lavish building which houses Brazilian artists, including some of the top names such as Portinari. The museum receives a lot of excellent traveling exhibitions and lends many of its best works to other exhibits as well.

Modern Art Museum
The main building of the museum sits within the Ibirapuera Park and holds always-rotating exhibits of modern artists in all mediums. Gallery space is often handed over to individual artists as well. This small museum also has an excellent art library with scanner and printer services.

Pinacoteca do Estado
Originally an art school, it was turned into a museum in 1997 and now holds one of the best collections of Brazilian art from the 19th and 20th century. Landscapes by Joao da Costa and stills by Joao Batista Pagini are featured here as well as the bourgeois realism of Oscar Feriera da Silva. Later works show the breaking away from European influence and the search for cultural identity.

Museu da Imagen e do Som
This museum houses a great collection of photographs that reflect contemporary themes such as media manipulation and sexuality. Archives of Brazilian cinema, video and music are also stored within the museum and are available for viewing. A dainty cafe on the ground floor serves cappuccinos and refreshments.

Japanese Immigration Museum
This museum tells a clear history of the Japanese people within Sao Paulo, their integration and population waves. Many photographs and videos show the gradual integration of the Japanese people into Brazilian society: from the farming days in which they introduced several species of crops including cashews and bamboo, to the status and wealth gain in the 1960's that accompanied Japanese company investments. As an additional bonus there is also a roof garden. English translations of the exhibits are available upon request.

Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo (MASP)
This uniquely designed museum holds an excellent collection of European painters and sculptors with representation from all countries, along with some works of Brazilian artists, including a room dedicated to Portinari. When a popular exhibit is up, it can take up to an hour to get inside.

The Butanta Snake Museum
One of the largest tourist attractions in Sao Paulo is the Snake Farm. The museum connected to it holds detailed information about the poisonous animals, their venom and its many uses, and public health issues. Information is available in Portuguese and English.

Museu do Imigrante
Immigration to Sao Paulo started in the late 19th century when a need to sustain the many coffee plantations came about; and this museum has felt the passage of over three million immigrants through its doors. The last immigrants (not tourists) to pass through its doors were in 1978 and then the building was shut down and soon turned into the museum it is today. Inside you see the admission hall, office, hospital and dorms in which the immigrants resided, and these provide an excellent image of what the immigrants first days were like in Brazil. Huge photos take up the walls and illustrate what life was like in the early days of the blossoming city.

Museu Lasar Segall
This museum was originally the house of the German Expressionist painter Segall who lived here when he came to Brazil from Europe in 1932. It houses his modernist pieces that he completed during his years in Brazil: mostly paper and canvas works.

Museu de Casa Brasileira
A once long-term residence of Fabio da Silva Prado (member of one of Sao Paulo's establishment families) this museum houses ornate wooden furniture, porcelain pieces and a Portinari painting.

Museu de Arte Sacra (Sacred Art Museum)
The museum's sacred art objects (pieces and objects created to adorn churches or for use in Catholic services) are housed within the Mosteiro da Luz where services are still held in the upper levels. Outside in the garden of the convent is the Presepio, which depicts life in an 18th century Neapolitan village through painted figurines brought from Italy. Signs are in English and Portuguese.

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