Oficina Brennand & Instituto Ricardo Brennand
The Ricardo Brennand Institute and the Oficina Brennand are two great museum visits and with the confetti settling after Carnaval it was time to try some sober sightseeing;)
Instituto Ricardo Brennand
This grand castle complex and museum combination, officially the Instituto Ricardo Brennand, houses the collection of the late businessman Ricardo Brennand. The entrance recalls somewhat aristocratic European homes, with a long road, flanked by palm trees, leading up to the castle. The entrance price is R$20 for an adult, kind of on the pricey end, but I think it’s worth it.
The grounds themselves are quite beautiful, with lush trees and a pond, scattered with romanesque sculptures and even a copy of Michelangelo’s famous David statue. If it hadn’t been a bit rainy this would have been a great place to chill out, have a picnic, or read a book.
There’s a collection of paintings inside the first buildings, many of them from European artists who spent time in Brazil rendering various scenes and landscapes. While the individual paintings are wonderful, sometimes I am just as enamored by the spaces themselves. I enjoy the presentation…
Another building housed a collection of tapestries, decorative arts, furniture, and sculptures acquired from various countries. Some of the most fantastic pieces were from China, intricate carvings of monastic sceneries.
The remaining building were dedicated to sculpture and a vast collection of items Ricardo Brennand had acquired over his life. It was a perfect look at what people with tons of money spend it on and these castles were jam packed. The institute is, in fact, home to one of the largest collections of armor in the world. There’s more than 3,000 objects that range from shields, helmets, and suits of armor, to all manner of blades, and even pieces made for dogs and horses. It’s largely a European collection, with many English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Swedish objects, but there were also Japanese and Indian weapons and I definitely saw some swords engraved with Arabic lettering.
I think this guy would have qualified for an episode of Hoarders.
The Oficina Brennand is the ceramics workshop of Ricardo Brennand’s son Francisco, a prolific sculptor and painter. It grew from the ruins of an old ceramics factory owned and operated by his father from 1917 to 1945. These days it also functions as a display for more than 2,000 separate sculpture pieces and visitors can wander through a veritable maze of them.
It’s hidden down a three kilometer road. Since it was close to where I was staying we started walking, but ended up hitching a ride (naturally). This place is also made up of several buildings, almost a farm in a way, only most the animals are these crazy sculptures. Upon arrival I realized I’d yet again left my camera on and the battery had been zapped so this place that would have been great to take cool pics in only had phone photos (and only a few).
Entrance to the Oficina was another R$20 and included access to wander the grounds and the buildings which were so full of pieces it was difficult to look at them all.
It was interesting to see the work of one artist all laid out in such a way. Francisco Brennand’s sculptures all certainly followed the same style, many erotic motifs and phallic structures. His paintings focused on women… pretty much exclusively.
Overall, I’d say I found this museum more interesting than the Institute, but I guess it all depends on what one prefers. They are both definitely worth the visit if you have time to kill while in Recife.