Quito is a city that contains a great number of museums and galleries, many of which are filled with colonial art. Although interesting the sheer volume of colonial art can get a bit overwhelming and possibly boring. The work of Oscar Guayasamin provides an interesting alternative. Born in 1919, Guayasamin is Ecuador’s most famous artist, and as such reproductions of his paintings can be found on sale in many places across Quito, including the artesian market in the Mariscal. If you want to see the originals then you are in luck as Quito contains not one but two Guayasamin museums.
The Foundation Guayasamin and the Capilla del Hombre can be found in close proximity to each other in the barrio of Bellavista, a short taxi ride from the Mariscal. You can also chose to walk, and if you do by the time you reach the first museum, the Foundation, you will undoubtably need a rest. The long, steep, tiring climb is definitely worthwhile as this museum (entrance $3) contains a huge number of Guayasamin works, that span his entire career.There are also galleries dedicated to the Quito School and Indigenous works.
Further up the hill, and occupying a fantastic site with sweeping views across Quito, stands the Capilla del Hombre (entrance $3). This elegantly austere building was constructed as a secular chapel, dedicated to the races of Latin America. Began in 1995 and unfortunately not completed until 2002, after Guayasamin’s death, this building also serves as a monument to his life. Although this chapel contains far fewer pieces of art than the Foundation as it was purpose-built it provides a perfect atmosphere to view his paintings.
Both the Foundation Guayasamin and the Capilla del Hombre are worth visiting if you like Guayasamin’s artwork, and in fact if you visit both on the same day you receive a one dollar discount, however if you only have time for one, due to the views and the architecture the Capilla is an altogether more interesting attraction.
More information about Guayasamin? Visit the Guayasamin official Website.