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El Museo de Arte de Ponce, Puerto Rico (In Pictures)

This past weekend, Mrs. Perez and I traveled to Puerto Rico for a little rest and relaxation at one of our favorite places, Villa Cofresi in beautiful Rincón. I was able, however, to coerce Mrs. Perez to accompany me to a place I've wanted to visit for some time - the Museo de Arte de Ponce.

Now, if you know me you know I've got a thing for art museums and whenever I travel abroad, I make sure to make time for the local art museum. Whether it be the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Brooklyn Museum in New York City, the Museo Nacional de Arte and Museo Soumaya in Mexico City, the National Museum of Art of Romania, the National Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo, or the Norton Museum of Art right here in South Florida - if there's an art museum in town, I'm there.

So, I was happy to have been able to visit the art museum in Ponce, which was founded in 1959 by Luis A. Ferré, a Puerto Rican engineer, industrialist, politician, philanthropist, and a patron of the arts. Born in the southern city of Ponce, Ferré was the third Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, serving from 1969 to 1973 and was the founding father of the New Progressive Party, which advocates for Puerto Rico to become a state of the United States of America. He is also a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom (awarded by President George W. Bush in 1991), the highest civilian award of the United States.

Museo de Arte de Ponce

The museum initially displayed 71 paintings from Ferré's personal collection but today displays over 3,000 pieces including the iconic painting "Flaming June" (which he purchased at the Maas Gallery in London in 1963 for £2,000) by the Victorian painter Frederic Leighton (alas, that painting was temporarily in England during our visit). Ferré died in 2003 at 99 years old. He was survived by his wife, Tiody de Jesús (pictured above); his son, Antonio; and his daughter, the novelist Rosario Ferré, author of "The House on the Lagoon" (she passed away of natural causes in February 2016).

The museum was the recipient of a $30M expansion in 2010 making it the largest art museum in the Caribbean. The Financial Times of London states that the museum holds "one of the most distinguished private collections in the Western Hemisphere outside the United States." It has an important collection of art that ranges from the 14th to the 20th century, Italian Baroque, British Pre-Raphaelite, Spanish Golden Age and contemporary Latin-American art.

I brought along my Lumix GH4 and a few lenses and snapped a few pics of some of my favorite pieces. So if you happen to find yourself in Puerto Rico and love art, put the Museo de Arte de Ponce on your list of places to visit (admission is only $6, $3 for students and seniors and free parking) - you won't be sorry. Enjoy the photographs...

Museo de Arte de Ponce

We arrive at the museum (there are small free parking garages on either side of the museum)

Museo de Arte de Ponce

Museo de Arte de Ponce

Once inside, the museum boasts an elegant double staircase designed by American architect Edward Durell Stone...

Museo de Arte de Ponce

Museo de Arte de Ponce

The museum offers daily guided tours in English and Spanish at 11:00am and 2:00pm

Museo de Arte de Ponce

Museo de Arte de Ponce

One of the main features of the museum is its hexagonal galleries, which allow natural light to enter through its corners bringing an illumination to exhibitions...

Museo de Arte de Ponce

"Doubting Thomas" by Bernardo Strozzi (1581 – 1644), an Italian Baroque painter and engraver.

He is considered a principal founder of the Venetian Baroque style...

Museo de Arte de Ponce

Bronze sculpture of 'Hercules' by French sculptor Guillaume Boichot (1735-1814)

Museo de Arte de Ponce

Museo de Arte de Ponce

Museo de Arte de Ponce

"The Fall of the Rebel Angels" by Italian painter Scipione Compagno (1624-1680). This might have been my favorite painting at the museum (would have also made a pretty badass heavy metal album cover!)

Museo de Arte de Ponce

"Susanna and the Elders" by Dutch painter Lambert Sustris (c. 1515-1520 – c. 1584). The painting depicts the biblical story of Susanna (from the Book of Daniel), a fair Hebrew wife, who is accosted by two lustful elders while she was bathing alone in her garden...

Museo de Arte de Ponce

"Dolorosa" (Virgin of Sorrows) by Spanish sculptor José de Mora (1642–1724)

Museo de Arte de Ponce

"San Antonio de Padua", a Portuguese Catholic priest and friar (who is also the patron saint of lost things!)

by Spanish sculptor Pedro de Mena y Medrano (1628 - 1688)

Museo de Arte de Ponce

"The Torture of Ixion" by Italian painter Giovanni Battista Langetti (1625–1676). In Greco-Roman mythology, Ixion was a king of the Lapiths who tried to seduce Hera, the wife of Zeus. As a punishment, Ixion was bound to a fiery wheel and condemned to spin for all eternity. Lesson learned? You don't mess with the big man's wife!

Museo de Arte de Ponce

"The Awakening of the Arts" by Flemish painter Frans Floris (1517-1570). Floris played an important role in the movement in Northern Renaissance painting referred to as Romanism...

Museo de Arte de Ponce

"Milo of Croton" by French sculptor Edme Dumont (1720-1775)

Museo de Arte de Ponce

"Mary Magdalen" by French painter Trophime Bigot (1579–1650)

Museo de Arte de Ponce

"The Wayfarers" by French realist painter Léon Augustin Lhermitte (1844-1925) whose primary subject matter was rural scenes depicting peasants at work...

Museo de Arte de Ponce

"Venus and her Satellites" by William Etty (1787-1849), the first significant British painter of nudes and still lifes...

Museo de Arte de Ponce

A couple of art lovers snapping photos of French painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau's "Far from Home" (1868)

Museo de Arte de Ponce

"Female Nude" by acclaimed Spanish painter Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (1863-1923)

Museo de Arte de Ponce

"La consulta" by Puerto Rican painter and muralist Jorge Rechany (1914-1990)

Museo de Arte de Ponce

"Noche de luna llena" by Puerto Rican painter Carlos Cancio (1961 - )

Museo de Arte de Ponce

We really enjoyed our visit to the Museo de Arte de Ponce - it truly is a world-class art museum. Make sure you make the time to stop by should you find yourself in Puerto Rico...

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