Although Carlos Mérida, after whom the museum is named, mainly worked in Mexico, he is seen as one of Guatemala's greatest artists and is a source of huge national pride in his native country. The 'Carlos Mérida' National Museum of Modern Art first opened in 1796 as a government initiative, but it wasn't until 1931 that it took on its current form. Its aim is simple: to safeguard, promote and present the type of modern art that is most characteristic of the Guatemalan people, a true cultural symbol of the state. This is a relatively unique aim as most of the country's cultural centres focus on the arduous task of keeping the Mayan heritage alive. The permanent collection at this museum covers drawings, etchings and paintings by the most significant native artists; including, of course, art by Carlos Mérida himself, with an entire room dedicated to his work.
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