A visit to the Guayasamin museum is a must do for anyone visiting Quito, Ecuador. This splendid house-museum exhibits an excellent array of pre-Columbian, colonial and contemporary art from the private collection of one of Ecuador's most famous artists - Oswaldo Guayasamin.
Osvaldo Guayasamin was born in Quito, Ecuador on 6 July 1919. Following his graduation from the Fine Art's Quito School (where he graduated as both a painter and sculptor), Oswaldo Guayasamin first exhibited his work at the tender of age of 23 (1942). What followed was a career in which he won all of the national awards available in Ecuador; as well as the Grand Award of Spain and the Grand Award of the Biennial of Sao Paulo. Osvaldo Guayasamin died on 10 March 1999 - at the age of 79.
Shortly before his death, Oswaldo Guayasamin donated all of his private collection to the city of his birth - Quito. Today this once private collection is housed in the museum named after him - the Guayasamin Museum.
Although considered an expressionist, the humanitarian in Osvaldo Guayasamin is said to be the biggest reoccurring theme in his work and his work is said to reflect some of the pain and misery that humanity has had to endure. In this regard, nearly of his work denounces all the violence and genocide that Oswaldo Guayasamin is said to have born witness to during his life-time.
At the time of his death, Guayasamin was working on his boldest piece, "The Chapel of Man" (Capilla del Hombre). Today, the now completed, "The Chapel of Man" can be found next door to the Guayasamin museum. Inside the chapel is a collection of artwork paying tribute to pre-Columbian man. The rectangular chapel is said to be heavily influenced by Incan temples and is covered by a dome of copper plate, the inside of which is covered by unconcluded murals of the artist's. The altar of the chapel contains an eternal flame in defense of peace and human rights.
Both the Guayasamin museum and The Chapel of Man are open between 10:00 - 17:00; however the chapel is closed on Monday and the Guayasamin museum is closed Saturday and Sunday.
Those who have taken the time to visit the Guayasamin museum and The Chapel of Man have expressed this as being one of their highlights during their stay in Quito. Another reoccurring comment, from previous visitors, is the fact that Oswaldo Guayasamin is probably one of the most under-rated artists of the Twentieth Century.
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