Regional Office for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean

Portal of Culture of Latin America and the Caribbean

Uruguay - Figari Museum

The Figari Museum is an art museum that preserves works of historical character with a strong monographic content (documents, personal objects, and objects that belonged to the family of Pedro Figari and his son, Juan Carlos Figari).

Pedro Figari was the first Uruguayan painter in recreating black cultural traditions in Rio de la Plata. His pictorial and literary work, stemming from his own childhood experiences –anecdotes of a black employee – and from oral and written testimonials, the aspects of dances and music (candombes), social and religious ceremonies (weddings, prayers, wakes, burials) of the black slaves and the emancipated.

Especially significant are the ceremonies of the Epiphany, on January 6th (Saint Balthazar) when the different nations from Africa elected their king and queen, who then would take carriages to visit de Governor of Montevideo (and the “candombes” that announced and closed such visits).

Figari also evoked, from his tiny workshop in Charcas Street in Buenos Aires or from the Rue du Pantheon in Paris, the trifles that make the Creole life, the deep racial mix and syncretism between the gaucho, the Indian and the Back, as well as the Creole patricians from the 19th century and the relationships of supremacy and servitude maintained between the various social strata.

Figari revaluates the role of the most dispossessed classes in the civilizing process of Rio de la Plata, rescuing the colour and energy of the customs and rites of the Blacks. Many of these customs, such as the candombe and certain aspects of the carnivals, are still very much alive in the Uruguayan city life.

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Other data of interest




Founding Date

2010 February 22


Uruguayan Art Museum


Juan Carlos Gómez 1427  

Telephone Numbers

598 29157256 | 29157256 | 29167031

Person in charge

Pablo Thiago Rocca - Director

Objectives of the institution

The museum’s objective is the preservation, research and dissemination of the works of Pedro Figari (Montevideo, 1861 – 1938) and Juan Carlos Figari Castro (Montevideo, 1893– Paris 1927), as tangible testimonial of the legacy of both artists, for the purpose of study, education and recreation.

The following are some of the main objectives of the institution:

•    To contribute to improve knowledge of Figari's work in each of its multiple facets: as a painter, lawyer, journalist, politician, educator, philosopher and writer.
•    To hold exhibitions and cultural events in the framework of this multifaceted production, whether with individual character or in relation with other artists and scholars, both past and present.
•    To carry out an exhaustive survey of Pedro Figari’s pictorial production currently in public buildings with the objective of organizing an archive accessible for reading and study.
•    To establish a group of agreements to optimize public resources and archive management strategies of Figari’s documents, as well as tangible and intangible assets in public collections.
•    To avoid the dispersion, loss and forgery of his pictorial work through detailed studies, purchase of the heritage put up for auction and the methodological survey of the existing public legacy.
•    To cooperate with the national education system by offering information regarding the life and works of the artist.
•    To promote research regarding Figari’s production in all levels of education.

Heritage documents under its protection

The Figari Museum holds in its collections numerous manuscripts by Pedro Figari as well as first editions of his publications. Likewise, it keeps part of the correspondence with his family and many personalities of his period (politicians, intellectuals, and artists). Original photographs and copies of his life.

The Figari Museum has a preservation plan to protect pictorial works and graphic and photographic works in its collections. In general, they are in good condition. In very few cases they have been restored or are in the process of being restored. Graphic documentation (books, drawings, photographs) are kept in special storage units and the pictorial works in racks. The exhibit halls and repositories have controlled environmental conditions (relative humidity, temperature, light, and hygiene).

Part of the heritage (50 % of the pictorial works) is in the permanent exhibit halls of the museum. The other 50% is in storage. The graphic material has been scanned to a large extent as a preventive measure and to facilitate access by researchers in the museum and outside.

Periodicals published by the institution

The museum publishes leaflets for each exhibition (triptychs), and up to the moment, it has published around thirty triptychs. Likewise, the material may be access and downloaded free of charge from our Web page and gateway

Other publications by the institution

The Figari Museum has its own editorial line. Since the opening of the museum in 2010, we have published more than twenty materials, from catalogues on exhibitions, research works on the life and work of Pedro Figari and Juan Carlos Figari and up to the reprint of Historia Kiria (2014). All publications may be downloaded free of charge from the Museum’s web page or from

One of the publications Suite para Figari. Pintura, música y danza: narrativas de una identidad, refers to the dances that Figari portrayed in his canvases making emphasis in those in which the characters and creators are precisely people of African descent, such as Bailongo and Candombe (files 10 and 11)