Housed in an elegant 1930s French colonial building, the Vietnam National Fine Arts Museum in Hanoi is arguably the country’s premier art museum. The building’s facade and interiors are extremely well-preserved and have a compelling mix of Indochine and classical French architecture.
Spanning about 3,000 square meters, the gallery space boasts a permanent collection of some 2,000 items, comprised of paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and lacquer work.
The Vietnam National Fine Arts Museum is presented chronologically from the ground floor moving up. It follows a timeline starting with stone and iron age artifacts, moving to 19th and 20th-century folk art, before finally leading to the modern pieces.
Educational programs take place at the Creative Space for Children (at an additional cost) and the museum shop has an array of original paintings by local artists for sale. Guided tours are also available in English, Chinese, and French.
Exhibits are split into five distinct sections: prehistoric art, Vietnamese art from the 11th to 19th century, 20th-century artworks, popular art collections, and local ceramic art. Major highlights include ancient Champa stone carvings and eye-catching effigies of Guan Yin.
Furthermore, the museum houses nine designated National Treasures as well as a prized collection of ancient wooden statues, which are painted and covered in bronze. Dating back between the 12th and 14th centuries, these pieces were actually moved from Hanoi and hidden in the countryside to protect them from possible bombing during the Vietnam War.
The section of artwork from 1925 to 1945 is among the most interesting, featuring lacquers and outstanding oil paintings by major Vietnamese artists. This 20-year span denotes the start of the modern art movement within Vietnam, showcasing paintings with both Oriental and Western influences.
The museum is located in the Ba Dinh District, close to the Temple of Literature and about two kilometers west of Hoan Kiem Lake, which takes around 25 minutes to reach by foot. A great place to spend the day, the Vietnam National Fine Art Museum can also be visited while partaking in city sightseeing tours.
Address: 66 Nguyễn Thái Học, Điện Bàn, Ba Đình, Hanoi, Vietnam
Phone: +84 24 3823 3084
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday | 8:30 AM – 5 PM