Whether you are a connoisseur or just a casual observer of the arts, the Museum de arte de Ponce should be on your destination map when vacationing in Puerto Rico. Considered the finest museum in Puerto Rico, its internationally renowned collection of almost 5,000 objects (including 820 works of art that span 3,000 years and come from Europe, the Americas, and Africa, three cultures that have shaped Puerto Rico’s heritage), creates a unique dialogue between Old and New Worlds.
The museum had its humble beginnings in a small wooden house in 1959 with roughly 25 pieces of art. Nearly fifty years later, after a change in location and a major remodel that was completed in 2010, the museum now has enough space for a museum shop, a wonderful restaurant as well as an art history library and facilities for educational purposes. The structure itself is so beautiful and open that it almost feels like you are walking into millionaire’s home instead of a museum!
Upon entering this modern building, you can expect a unique and introspective art experience. The museum decided to present their current exhibition: Encounters: Space, Time, and Experience, an exhibition designed to emphasize the collection’s diversity, thematically as opposed to the traditional manner of organizing by geography, chronologically or by medium. It might be confusing at first, but it is actually rather enlightening. The tour guides are extremely friendly and very knowledgeable.
Many artists are featured at the museum. Some more famous names are Eugène Delacroix, Peter Paul Rubens,Lucas Cranach, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo , and Sir Edward Burne-Jones, among others. The main masterpiece of the museum is the Flaming June, painted by Frederic Leighton. The final masterpiece and crowning achievement of Sir Edward Burne-Jones, The Last Sleep of Arthur in Avalon, is another of the main attractions of the museum’s collection. Both pieces have been with the Museum de arte de Ponce since its inception in 1959.
Although the museum is about an hour by car from San Juan, it is entirely worth the drive. The general admission price is a bonus at six dollars per person. If you are traveling in Puerto Rico, you do not want to miss this opportunity to experience this gem of a museum!