The Lima Art Museum (MALI)

The Lima Art Museum (MALI) is one of the most important in all of Peru. It currently occupies the palace of the exhibition, one of the precursor buildings of the neo-Renaissance style. Inside there are permanent and temporary exhibitions that show art through Peruvian history. Its collections of Inca ceramics and textiles stand out. It also offers plastic arts courses for children and young people. It is one of the main diffusers of art in the country.

Description of MALI

The MALI is a museum that exposes the historical development of art in Peru, from pre-Inca times to the present day. Present permanent and temporary exhibitions. The rooms are: pre-Columbian art, textiles, colonial art, silverware, republican art (19th century), traditional art, 20th century, photography and contemporary art.

The museum was created in 1959 thanks to the initiative of a group of Peruvian businessmen and intellectuals such as: Carlos Neuhaus Ugarteche, Jorge Basadre Grohmann, Jaime Bayly, Fernando Berckemeyer, Juan Landázuri Ricketts, José Antonio Lavalle, Aurelio Miró Quesada Sosa, Pedro de Osma Gildemeister, Raúl Porras Barrenechea and others who formed the ‘Patronato de las Artes’ with 24 members in total.

The museum is located in the ‘Palace of the exhibition’, a building built in 1872 in a neo-Renaissance style by the architect Antonio Leonardi. Its purpose was to be the center of the ‘International Exhibition of Lima’. However, after its remodeling in 1957 it became the new Lima Art Museum.

Over the years, the museum’s facilities and exhibits have improved. It currently has nine rooms that exhibit more than 17 thousand works of art that account for more than 3,000 years of art in Peru.

In addition to permanent and temporary exhibitions, MALI offers: a large library, an archive of Peruvian art (also in digital version), courses – workshops for the general public, educational programs and much more.

Location: the Exhibition Park

The MALI is inside the famous Exhibition Park, a public space full of vegetation and culture. It is one of the most emblematic spaces of the historic city of Lima.

His exact address is Avenida 9 de Diciembre, Cercado de Lima.

It has a land of 4,500 square meters. Paseo Colón avenue is the main way of reference.

How to get there from Miraflores?

From anywhere in the city of Lima you can get to MALI traveling along Paseo Colón avenue. From the tourist district of Miraflores, it can be reached by taxi or on the ‘Blue Corridor’ (public transport bus) that crosses the entire Arequipa avenue. The cost of this last trip is only 1 sol 50 cents.

Site Map

The exhibition palace

The exhibition palace is inside the Exhibition Park. It is the best example of the neo-renaissance (eclectic) architecture of Lima. Its construction was at the same time as the Exhibition Park in 1870. At that time its greatest attraction was the ‘Teniente Pedro Ruiz Gallo’ clock, which was stolen during the ‘War with Chile’ in 1883.

Because it used iron for its huge columns, it is considered a precursor building in Latin America. It used French and Venetian architecture for its construction. It was the headquarters of the Lima International Exposition in 1872. Later in 1954 and to date it is the headquarters of the Lima Art Museum.

The museum

These are the permanent exhibition rooms offered by MALI:

Pre-Columbian art room – Exhibits pieces of pre-Inca and Inca culture. Of the first group, the mochica, nazca, vicús and more ceramics and textiles stand out. Of the second group, the collection of queros and quipus stand out. The works belong to different cultures that settled for more than a thousand years throughout the entire territory of Peru.

Textile Room – This room is specialized in the different textiles that were found along the Peruvian coast since 8 thousand years ago (work found in the cave of Guitarreros (Ancash). The textiles of the Paracas, Nazca and Inca cultures stand out.

Colonial art room – Works that were created after the conquest of the Spanish in Peru in the 16th century. The canvases produced by the so-called ‘Cusco school’ of painting stand out. Ceramic works worked during the colonial era are also exhibited.

Silverware Room – This room exhibits pieces of jewelry, mainly made of silver, which were created from the Spanish conquest to the 20th century. The room was created in 2003 thanks to the donation and collaboration of important personalities such as Javier Prado Ugarteche, Luisa Álvarez – Calderón and Waldemar Schoroeder y Mendoza.

Republican Art Room (19th century) – Works of art, mainly canvases, created throughout the 19th century, during the first years of Peru’s independence. Some of the most representative works belong to Ignacio Merino, Francisco Laso, José Gil de Castro and Luis Montero.

Costumbrista art room – Costumbrismo arose during the 19th century as a way to show the custom and cultural manifestation of Peruvians. The MALI has the largest collection of traditional pictorial works in Peru. Artists such as Pancho Fierro, Ignacio Merino, Carlos Baca – Flor, Enrique Domingo Barreda and more stand out.

Republican Art Room (20th century) – Works of art by 20th century artists, many of whom flourished after the creation of the School of Fine Arts in 1919 That century artistic movements such as indigenismo were born. Some of the most representative artists in this room are: Teófilo Castillo, José Sabogal, Julia Codesido, Mario Urteaga, Ricardo Grau and more.

Photography room – As its name indicates, this room exhibits a historical collection of photography in Peru. From the time of the degarrotype (between 1842 and 1859). Among the artists stands out the photographer Martín Chambi, recognized as the pioneer of portraiture in the country.

Contemporary art room – In this room artistic works from 1940 to the present are displayed. It is worth highlighting the influence of the ‘Internal War’ in Peru (1980 to 2000). Some of the most recognized works belong to: Fernando de Szyszlo, Tilsa Tsuchiya, Gerardo Chávez, Luz María Bedoya, Teresa Burga, Juan Javier Salazar and more.

More services from MALI

MALI also offers a room for temporary exhibitions, which was inaugurated in 1957.

The MALI library is called ‘Manuel Solari Swayne’ in homage to the Peruvian intellectual who donated part of his personal collection for the creation of the library. Today it has more than 15 thousand volumes mainly on painting, architecture, photography, popular art and more.

The institution also has an archive of more than 2,500 portfolios on the subject of art in Peru. The file was installed in 1996. It is for use by researchers.

MALI offers courses for all people, whether children, adolescents or adults. They include courses in photography, painting, music, martial arts, dance, theater and more.

Entrance cost

These are the entrance fees to MALI:

  • Foreign tourists: 30 Peruvian soles.
  • Peruvians and residents of Peru: 15 Peruvian soles.
  • Adults over 65, students, teachers and people with disabilities: 15 soles.
  • Adults over 65, students, teachers and people with disabilities in Peru: 5 Peruvian soles.
  • Children (up to 8 years old): free.

Hours of Operation

The MALI opens its doors from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

On Saturdays the opening hours are from 9 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon.

MALI photos

Barranco - Lima
El Museo de Arte de Lima
El Museo de Arte de Lima
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More information

Guided visits to the museum (for a minimum of 5 people) have an additional cost of 5 Peruvian soles. They take place from Tuesday to Saturday at 11 am, 12 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm and 4 pm.

Just a few steps from MALI you can visit the Magic Water Circuit, one of the most modern and symbolic parks in the city of Lima.

Inside the museum, photographs and recordings are allowed as long as ‘flash’ is not used. However, it is not allowed to enter with tripods or selfie sticks.

The Lima Art Museum renews its agenda week by week. An excellent idea is to find out about the museum’s exhibitions and news through its website.