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After Three Years, Reformation Work on the Museu do Ipiranga Still Yet to Begin

01/27/2016 - 09h11

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SILAS MARTÍ
FROM SÃO PAULO

Very little has changed since the Museu do Ipiranga was hastily closed two and a half years ago, amid fears that the ceiling was at risk of collapsing in some of the rooms.

The same study commissioned by the museum and building restorers also suggested that the façade of the building was sinking and that the whole structure had become compromised.

Nearly three years since it was closed, no budget has been defined, and there are no concrete plans for the restoration of the building.

The University of São Paulo (USP), which is responsible for the museum, has rented buildings nearby in which to store artefacts from the museum, which need to be removed before the work can start.

However, while there is not sufficient space for the whole collection in these houses, staff also discovered that some works could not be removed from the museum, such as "Independência ou Morte", an iconic 1888 painting by Pedro Américo, which has been soldered to the wall.

Meanwhile, everything that can be removed is being slowly packed up. They will remain out of sight until at least 2022, when USP hopes to reopen the museum as part of the celebrations for the bicentenary of Brazil's independence.

It is by no means certain that the work will be complete by this date though, given that the initial estimate for the work - R$21 million (US $5.2 million) - has already ballooned to around R$100 million (US $24.6 million).

For this reason, the Pinacoteca do Estado has decided to help out. While the Museu do Ipiranga remains closed, the museum in the Luz area of São Paulo is exhibiting some of the forgotten classics that had been shut away.

The Pinacoteca is a fitting home for some of the artefacts from the Museu do Ipiranga. It was founded in 1905 and its first donation was 20 artefacts from the Ipiranga, including "Caipira Picando Fumo", a painting by Almeida Júnior from 1893, two years before the Museu do Ipiranga was founded.

The Pinacoteca has been stepping up its efforts to remove some of the larger works from the Ipiranga, some of which are already on show, such as Benedito Calixto's "Inundação do Várzea do Carmo" (1892) and "Fundação de São Vicente" (1900).

Translated by TOM GATEHOUSE

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