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Chacra Do Ceu Museum

Chacra Do Ceu Museum (68)

Small but exquisite. This is how this museum looks like.

It was the residence of Raymundo Ottoni de Castro Maya, or simply Castro Maya, a successful businessman, book publisher, sportsman and especially art collector. He was born in Paris in 1894 and died in Santa Teresa, in the city of Rio de Janeiro, in 1968. 

He founded museums, cultural societies and was an advocate of historical, artistic and natural heritage.

With its purist cubist style, it is a bright and spacious home from the 1950s. Its name means something like "the farmhouse of heaven".

It features beautiful and spacious gardens, located in a high area of the Santa Teresa neighbourhood; thus, along with its great collection, its location will offer you a beautiful view of the city and Guanabara Bay.  

This house defined very well the collector's refined lifestyle, who left a highly interesting artistic legacy.  

In fact, on the two museum floors, apart from art, you will be able to see antique furniture, cutlery, glassware, tapestries, Persian carpets ... 

It all started when Raymundo inherited from his father a collection of paintings by Courbet, Belange and Rousseau. 

Some years later, between 1940 and 1960, he expanded it by acquiring a fine collection of paintings, drawings and engravings of different artistic movements, from impressionism to cubism or surrealism. The highlights are works by renowned artists, such as Picasso, Matisse, Modigliani, Seurat, Vlaminck, Degas and Miró. Unfortunately, in 2006, the museum was robbed and several works by Picasso, Matisse, Dalí and Monet were taken. 

Castro Maya acquired an outstanding collection of Brazilian art, mainly consisting of works by Guignard, Di Cavalcanti and Pancetti Volpi, as well as artists of the mid-20th century, such as Iberê Camargo, Antonio Bandeira and Manabu Mabe. 

And an important collection of paintings, drawings and engravings by Candido Portinari. Nowadays, this set is considered one of the largest public collections of the artist.  

He also became interested in folk art forms and began to purchase works by northeastern ceramists, folk paintings and Naïve art. His first purchase was an array of figures by Mestre Vitalino, which contributed to greater acknowledgement of Brazilian popular art.

The museum features an interesting collection of Oriental art made up of some 400 pieces, including works from Japan, China, India and Thailand, ranging from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries.

Collecting was important, but his main goal was to promote art and, especially, support Brazilian art, whereas his great motivation was to facilitate public access to his collections. Therefore, in 1963, he created the Raymundo Ottoni de Castro Maya Foundation.

He actually had another residence in Alto da Boa Vista, which he also turned into a museum. 

In 1964, he inaugurated the Açude Museum, and four years after his death, the Chácara do Céu Museum opened in 1972.

Art, gardens and views are well worth your visit to this museum.

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